We know that having cameras on the school bus to record stop-arm violations is an excellent way to address the problem, as we explained in our post, “What to Consider When Choosing Stop-arm Cameras.” But, there are some additional strategies that can help reduce the threat of injury:
1. Reposition School Bus Stops
Locate bus stops in safe areas with no blind curves, high-speed zones, or treed areas. Moving a bus stop to a quieter side street also reduces the potential for injury.
2. Clearly Marked Bus Stops
Work with your local or state authorities to install more signs warning drivers that there is a school bus stop ahead. Most motorists do not intentionally pass a school bus. More signage can give advanced warning to capture the attention of distracted drivers.
3. Driver Training
Reinforce policies on the safe deployment of stop-arms through regular driver training and spot checks. Ensuring that drivers are following the correct procedures (i.e. yellow hazards as the bus slows, red hazards 200 feet prior to the bus stop, full stop prior to extending the stop-arm) will help improve safety and reduce motorist’s complaints.
4. Crossing Guard Policy
Some school districts have introduced policies that require drivers to escort students across busy roads, or have a crossing guard program for bus stops in busy areas, multi-lane roads, or hazardous intersections.
5. Partner with Local Law Enforcement
Coordinate with your local law enforcement agencies to conduct a stop-arm violation blitz. Cameras and signage on the bus may not be enough to deter stop-arm violators. The presence of law enforcement vehicles issuing tickets or warnings to motorists can serve as a wake-up call to distracted drivers.
6. Community Awareness
Work with national and state organizations like Operation Stop Arm3 to create awareness within the community. Many motorists may not be familiar with the laws, or need a reminder of the implications of illegally passing a school bus.