Survey Reveals Increase In School Bus Stop Arm Violations

— Maryland school bus drivers have reported a disturbing trend in the Maryland State Department of Education’s latest survey of driver behavior: more are ignoring bus stop arms.

Stop arms swing out from a bus and lights flash whenever it is making an on-roadway student pick-up. A total of 3,812 violations of school bus stop arms were recorded on a single day last spring, compared to 3,384 observed violations in 2017.

“School safety begins with making sure our students have a safe bus trip to and from school,” said Governor Larry Hogan, who issued a proclamation declaring School Bus Safety week from October 22-26. “This week is a reminder for parents, students, drivers, and others to promote the importance of school bus safety across our state by following simple tips to ensure our children arrive at school unharmed and ready to learn.”

Last year’s uptick is still a significant decrease from 2016, when the number stood at 4,334, and well below the 7,011 recorded when the survey began in 2011. But it is crucial to maintain a focus on school bus safety for students, according to Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools.

“Each Maryland driver must do their part to maintain safe driving practices, and remember that the lives of our students are at stake,” Dr. Salmon said. “It is illegal to pass a bus with its stop arm extended and its lights flashing. Our newest survey results show there remains much room for improvement. One violation of the Stop Arm is one too many.”