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Press Release

Peabody Public Schools Reveal Alarming Rate of School Bus Illegal Passings This Back-To-School

October 19, 2023

Peabody, MA

Peabody Public Schools and BusPatrol unveiled the findings of the state’s first stop-arm camera pilot program during a press conference held at Higgins Middle School. The results showed a disturbing trend of over three illegal passings per bus per day.

Over 800 vehicles failed to stop for Peabody school buses in just five weeks in state’s first stop-arm study. Watch videos here.

Today, Peabody Public Schools and BusPatrol unveiled the findings of the state’s first stop-arm camera pilot program during a press conference held at Higgins Middle School. The results showed a disturbing trend of over three illegal passings per bus per day.

From September 1st to October 10th, ten school buses equipped with stop-arm cameras recorded 865 vehicles illegally passing school buses that were stopped to pick up or drop off students. This is equal to 3.6 violations per bus per day.

The announcement coincides with this year’s National School Bus Safety Week (Oct 16-20), a public awareness campaign to raise awareness about the dangers students face as they ride to and from school in the United States.

Maria Scheri, Founder of the S.T.O.P The Operator from Passing and Co-Chair of the School Safety Task Force, said: “There’s really no excuse for someone to pass a stopped school bus. There are yellow warning signals that the bus is about to stop, red flashing lights, and a stop sign. It literally says unlawful to pass on the back of the bus.

“The important work we are doing in Peabody, capturing data of illegal school bus passing violations, is to show our lawmakers, the media and communities across the state, the danger that kids are in when they need to cross the street to get on and off their school bus. Drivers need to be held accountable and there is not enough law enforcement available to follow every single school bus two or three times a day in each school district.

“Massachusetts needs to embrace the bus stop arm camera technology to enforce the law as 25 other states are doing. There really should be no opposition to wanting to save a kid from getting injured or killed by someone who is unlawfully passing their stopped school bus.”

The most dangerous week was the first full week of school, September 11th to 15th, with 184 violations recorded in just five days and a violation rate of 3.8 per bus per day. According to the district, the bus stops with the highest number of violations were located at 100 block of Andover Street, 100 block of Margin Street, and 100 block of Central Street.

Karoon Monfared, CEO of BusPatrol, called upon the local community to take action: “It’s a disturbing reality that school buses are being passed almost four times per bus per day. This is one of the highest violation rates that we’ve seen in the Country. It takes an average of 30 seconds to stop behind a bus and allow a child to get on or off safely. We join with Peabody Public Schools, parents, and educators across the state in calling for common sense legislation to protect our children from the rise of reckless motorist behavior.”

Under current legislation, Peabody Public School is unable to leverage photo enforcement technology to ticket motorists failing to stop for the school bus. The district hopes the findings from this stop-arm survey will serve as a compelling case for passing laws that allow for more effective enforcement measures in Massachusetts.

Several states have recently passed laws supporting stop-arm camera technology, including Florida, Delaware, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services estimates that school buses in the United States are illegally passed 43.5 million times each year.

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