ANDERSON – Legislation co-sponsored by Indiana Sen. Todd Young is aimed at making improvements to school bus safety at the national level.

Young, a Republican, and Michigan Democrat Gary Peters have introduced the Stop for School Bus Safety Act that would require the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to review and report on existing school bus passing laws and current school bus safety technology to prevent illegal passing.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd District, has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House.

Young became involved in the effort in 2010 after a driver struck and killed three young siblings in Rochester while they were boarding a school bus and a fourth student was injured.

This bipartisan legislation requires a comprehensive evaluation of methods to prevent the dangerous and illegal passing of school buses at loading zones.

“The tragedy that occurred in Rochester is unimaginable, and my heart breaks for the parents of those young children,” Young said in a press release. “The Stop for School Buses Act will help prevent the illegal passing of school buses and keep our children safe on their way to school.”

Peters said he was troubled by instances of students being injured or losing their lives while waiting for or boarding a school bus.

“Parents should expect their children to be safe going to and from school,” he said in the press release. “That’s why I’m introducing the bipartisan Stop for School Buses Act to conduct a top-to-bottom review on what more can be done to address school bus safety.”

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said several states have strengthened their school bus laws and Indiana has also taken several steps.

“What would really help is if the federal government provided some funding to pay overtime checking for violators,” he said. “Currently we don’t have enough time to have a deputy check for motorists passing school buses.

“Additional funding would allow deputies to ride school buses and write down the license plate numbers of violators,” Mellinger said. “We could enforce the law while riding the buses.”

The government's transportation agency would be required to conduct a comprehensive review and report to Congress on best practices.

The proposed legislation will require a review to identify illegal passing laws in every state, including penalties.

“The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) appreciates the work of Senators Todd Young and Gary Peters to introduce the ‘STOP for School Buses Act of 2019,’” Blake Krapf, president of the association, said. “The bill provides a comprehensive federal response to the important issue of preventing illegal passing of school buses so that we can ensure that students are just as safe getting on and off their yellow school buses as they are riding inside their yellow school buses, the safest form of transportation over all others.”
© 2019 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.