Paul and Sue Oberhauser, NJ.com
This week is National School Bus Safety Week, which is a reminder we need to keep kids safe when riding to school. A national survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services showed an estimated 14 million drivers illegally pass stopped school buses each year. On the day of the survey in 2014, 1,483 drivers passed buses on the right side – between where children get on and off the bus and the sidewalk.
That is why the General Assembly should pass S503, bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. James Holzapfel (R-Ocean) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) permitting school districts to use safety cameras to catch and hold accountable drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus. Bus drivers often struggle to catch the license plate numbers of drivers zooming past. The video systems capture the evidence and local law enforcement reviews the footage to decide whether to issue a citation.
Impatient drivers put New Jersey school children at risk and the N.J. Assembly can do something about it. Thirteen states already use school bus safety cameras, which have reduced violations by nearly 30 percent in some districts in just one year. New Jersey should be the 14th.
Paul and Sue Oberhauser are national co-chairs of the Traffic Safety Coalition.