SB2340 Unanimously passes Illinois Legislature to modernize school bus warning systems By Allowing School Buses to Use Additional Extended Stop Arms
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 15, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- With unanimous support, the Illinois Legislature has passed a measure that will make it safer for students to get on and off school buses across the state. SB2340 allows Illinois school districts 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.
"There is no greater priority we as leaders can have than safety for our children. That includes giving school districts the ability to make the commute to and from school safer and I believe this legislation does that," said Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield), one of four senate chief co-sponsors.
While the bill does not require districts to do so, the legislation gives Illinois school buses the option 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," said State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville), a chief-co sponsor of the bill in the house.
A 2019 study conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPTS) found that in a single day, more than 95,000 motorists had illegally passed stopped school buses displaying flashing red lights and traditional stop arms.
Across the U.S. an estimated 17 million drivers will illegally pass school buses while their current stop arms are deployed this year a statistic making extended stop arms an increasingly popular option for school districts to install these.
"With driver distraction levels at all-time highs the current warning systems, which haven't changed in 30 years, simply aren't enough. 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," said Illinois-based Bus Gates co-founder Jeff Stauffer.
Under the bill, the front side extension to the required stop arm must extend no more than 78 inches from the side of the bus with the rear side arm not extending more than 32 inches.
Illinois joins a growing list of progressive states to modernize warning systems on school buses. States allowing Bus Gates and other stop-arm extensions including Texas, Montana, Virginia and West Virginia. Bus Gates is federally approved.
"Since installing Bus Gates stop arm extensions, we've seen a 95% drop in stop arm passing violations," said Alvarado, Texas Public Schools Transportation Manager, Terry Woods.
Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia reported an 89 percent reduction in the number of violations when utilizing Extended Stop Arms.
The state of Montana mandated that stop-arm extensions be installed on all public school buses across the state in 2022.
"Illinois is one of the leaders within the school bus safety industry and this bill increases that safety. We are hoping this new law passed in Illinois will push other states to follow suit and we can make extended stop arms required equipment on every bus in the US and Canada," added Stauffer.
About Bus Gates
Bus Gates is on a mission to reduce vehicle "drive-arounds" at bus stops across America and make getting to and from school safer for students. Bus Gates stop-arm extensions are a simple, cost-effective solution to a major problem - cars ignoring stopped school bus warnings putting students at risk. Bus Gates stop-arm extensions easily retro fits to the existing school bus stop signs. They offer additional visibility and stick out further from the bus to make drivers more aware and reducing "drive-arounds" by up to 95%.
Chris McCloud, Bus Gates, 2175024376, [email protected]
SOURCE Bus Gates