More than 15 million violations by motorists in 180 days

It is well understood that when driving next to or behind a school bus, drivers need to be extremely cautious and anticipate signs and stops. Sadly, that is not what many of us do.

The third annual national school bus stop-arm running survey found 85,279 violations in a single day.

More than 108,000 school bus drivers in 29 states participated in the survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS).

NASDPTS officials said that throughout a 180-day school year, with the sample results of 85,279 private vehicle drivers passing their buses illegally in a single day, it can be deduced that there are more than 15 million violations by private motorists nationwide.

Some highlights of the study's findings:

  • 45.4 percent of the illegal passes were observed in the morning; 4.5 percent mid-day; and 50.1 percent in the afternoon or evening.
  • 57.5 percent of the vehicles passed the buses from the front; 42.5 percent passed from the rear.
  • Almost 98 percent of the vehicles passed the buses on the left side; a little more than 2 percent passed on the right.

"There are nearly a half million school buses on the road each day in the United States," said Max Christensen, president of NASDPTS. "This survey captured only a fraction of the violations that bus drivers and other professionals in school transportation and law enforcement know are occurring each and every day.

"Any driver who passes a stopped school bus illegally is gambling with a child's life."

Here's some parting advice: If you see a school bus in your lane or coming towards you, pay close attention to what it is doing. Slow down, give the bus extra space and be prepared to stop suddenly as it loads or unloads its cargo (children).