Leyden School District 212 could be among first in state to install school bus safety devices following passage of bill in Springfield | #schoolsaftey

Leyden Community High School District 212 is among the Illinois school districts expected to install stop-arm extensions on school buses, following passage of legislation in Springfield.

With its vote of approval in the state House May 11, after passing in the Senate in March, Senate Bill 2340 “will make it safer for students to get on and off school buses across the state,” according to a news release from Illinois-based Bus Gates, which provides the specialized devices for school buses.

The legislation allows school districts statewide to install “a well-lit additional extended stop arm that further obstructs the roadway from passing traffic when a school bus is stopped to pick up or drop off students,” according to the release.

District 212 officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the legislation and school bus devices.

While the bill does not require districts to add the stop arm extensions, it does green light the option for school buses to be fitted with up to two additional safety arms.

“More than 17 million incidents of vehicles driving around stopped school buses are reported each year in the US. These extended arms provide a more visible and physical warning to motorists to stop before a tragedy happens,” state Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, D-Naperville, a chief-co sponsor of the bill in the House, said in the release.

According to the release, a 2019 study conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation found that in a single day, more than 95,000 motorists illegally passed stopped school buses displaying flashing red lights and traditional stop arms.

Further, the release states, across the U.S. an estimated 17 million drivers illegally pass school buses while the buses’ stop arms are out, “making extended stop arms an increasingly popular option for school districts to install.”

Bus Gates co-founder Jeff Stauffer pointed to distracted driver statistics and reports that bus warning systems have not been changed in decades.

“We felt compelled to design a simple and cost-effective way to increase the visibility of buses, reduce the liability of motorists, and decrease these tragedies and close calls,” Stauffer said in the release.

The release states that, with the legislation, Illinois joins a growing list of states updating warning systems on school buses. States allowing Bus Gates and other stop-arm extensions include Texas, Montana, Virginia and West Virginia.

“Illinois is one of the leaders within the school bus safety industry and this Bill increases that safety,” said Stauffer.

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