NHTSA Starts School Bus Safety Campaign Because Drivers Aren’t Stopping For The Extended Stop Sign


Stop for the damn school bus! I didn’t think that needed to be said, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has now launched a national campaign begging for people to have common decency, it does.

According to the State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services’ 2019 Stop Arm survey, more than 95,000 of the roughly 130,000 school bus drivers polled on a single day reported a vehicle passing their bus illegally. That’s 72 percent of drivers reporting being passed when the stop sign is extended.

Extrapolating from that data, throughout a single, 180-day school year, the sample suggests that there are more than 17 million similar violations on America’s roads. Needless to say, that’s really bad because the greatest risk to children’s safety isn’t when they’re on the bus.

Read: NHTSA Estimates Show A Drop In Quarterly Traffic Fatalities For The First Time Since 2020

Between 2010 and 2019, NHTSA reports that there were 1.6 times more fatalities among pedestrians around a school bus than there were on school buses. That’s even more alarming when you consider that it tends to be a handful of children entering or leaving the bus, instead of the dozens who can be on a bus at any given time.

It’s also illegal in every state (and the District of Columbia) to pass a school bus when its stop arm is extended, but, call me crazy, the legal consequences seem less important than the mortal ones.

In order to encourage drivers to respect stop signs, NHTSA has launched a national advertising campaign that attempts to humanize the people using the extended stop sign. With copy that read “When you stop for a school bus, you stop for Jordan,” or Kaitlyn, or Ariana, the ad literally puts a child’s face in front of the stop sign to remind drivers what the stakes are.

“Passing a stopped school bus is against the law and could have fatal consequences. Nothing is worth the risk,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson. “Children’s lives are on the line – every driver needs to stop when a school-bus stop arm is extended.”


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