When three young children were hit by a truck passing a school bus near Rochester in 2018, the Indiana general assembly worked to make tougher penalties for people who pass school buses unlawfully. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), says she wants to help make those kinds of laws possible across the country.
Walorski is working with Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), on the Stop for School Buses Act. While the bill would not set any new federal penalties itself, it would be a step in the direction of helping states strengthen their illegal passing laws.
It would give the U.S. Dept. of Transportation the power to review all of the laws around the country, compile and evaluate them. It would also require some best practices from the USDOT.
Research would also be done to determine what technologies (like stop arm cams, alarms, etc.), would be best to help cut down on the number of people, kids included, who are killed because of people illegally passing school buses.
“The tragic loss of young Hoosiers in bus-related crashes last year, including in Fulton County, was a reminder that life is precious and that we all need to work together to keep children safe,” said Walorski. “Every driver has a responsibility to exercise caution when students are present, and that includes never passing a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing or its stop arm extended."
Walorski announced the bill Tat the Rochester School Corporation following a demonstration of recently installed school bus cameras, which engage when the stop arm is extended so authorities can hold drivers accountable for illegal passing.
Walorski also met with the parents of the three siblings who tragically lost their lives last year walking to their bus in Fulton County.