School Bus Safety petition on whitehouse.gov

I’m usually not a fan of Federal laws stepping into state matters. But we’ve recently had several tragedies because some a-hole in a hurry passed a stopped school bus. I completely agree we need severe penalties for this dangerous and completely avoidable behavior.

Here’s some examples of kids getting hit.

This seems to establish an appropriate punishment? It’s far more punitive then typical state traffic laws. Someone that passes a stopped school bus doesn’t need a ticket. They need to be arrested and charged. Imho
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-bus-stop-safety-federal-law

Do the petitions on Whitehouse.gov get taken seriously? Do the powers that be (TPTB) read these petitions and monitor how many people sign?

Is there a chance if they get millions to sign that The House will take this up?

Something, yeah, but “30 days in jail, 90 day dl suspension, 12 points on license and a mandatory minimum fine of $5000.00 for the first offense” isn’t going to fly, it’s far too harsh for a first offense when nothing happened.

Keep in mind, you can hurt people running a red light, a stop sign, a “yield to pedestrians” sign and all kinds of other stuff. It seems to me that if they simply left off the punishment part, it would gather more signature, faster.
Take me, for example, I consider myself a good driver. So far as I know I’ve never gone past a school bus with it’s stop sign out/lights on and I would never do it on purpose (and fwiw, I have a school aged child), I’d have a hard time supporting a law that could cause me to lose my license, go to jail and pay a good chunk of my easily accessible money if I blew a stop sign.

Again, I’m good with harsher penalties if this is a real issue, but if you go too far, I wouldn’t be able to support it.

On a related topic, I have a friend (well, brother of a friend) that ended up in jail for passing a school bus on the right. That is, the traffic was stopped for the bus, so he went around on the shoulder. He did jail time for that one, IIRC, it was his third strike.

I understand the actual penalty will need to be reevaluated. The petition is too harsh to actually implement. I see the petition as a starting point for a dialogue.

Right now, it’s my understanding that most states only issue tickets for passing a stopped school bus. It’s like running a red light.

At the very least it should get a reckless driving charge. Which in my state means an arrest. That gets the driver’s attention more than issuing a ticket.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I just love these petitions. :rolleyes:

No, I’m not in favor of passing school buses & is there anywhere where it’s legal now?
Supposed this petition comes to pass; how many people would lose their job if they took 30 days off? Even if you can come back to your job, they just learned that you’re not necessary in the next round of layoffs. This sounds much stricter than DUI penalties (which I think should be stricter). I’d bet there are significantly less school bus passers than there are drunk drivers; just given the more limited # of school days & the limited hours buses are on the road.

Our jails are already overcrowded; how much will it cost us to house people for 30 days in jail?

You inspired me to look up what the penalty already is.

Over 800 people died in red light running incidents in 2016.

I’m having trouble specific stats, but it looks 5 people died getting hit at school bus stop in 2016:

Why do you feel that running a school bus stop should be punished more than running a red light?

The problem is catching the assholes. Bus driver is too busy paying attention to the students to get the make/model/plate number of the cars that pass. Unless we’re going to mount red light cameras on the back/side of the buses or have each bus accompanied by a patrol car, the vast majority of violators are going to get away with it. It doesn’t matter what the punishment is if you don’t catch them.

Me? I’d love it if school buses could roll out a tack strip or something similar when they’re off loading passengers. :smiley:

Responding to Thudlow Boink, In Arkansas it’s not that harsh. Illinois has a better law.

In just one county they are getting 15 to 20 reports a month. There’s 75 counties in Arkansas.
That’s a lot of passed school buses every month.

https://www.thv11.com/amp/article?section=news&subsection=local&headline=arkansas-police-crack-down-on-passing-stopped-school-buses&contentId=91-463798789

Note that not all states have “points” and one point in one state doesn’t equate one point in another.

$5k fine? What the hey? This is well beyond the reach of a lot of people, no matter how sincere they are but sofa change for some others. Those extremes are not good to have. On the one hand you’ll have people fleeing the scene because they can’t possibly pay- turning non-hit-and-runs into hit-and-runs. On the other hand you’ve got rich, entitled people who still won’t care at all.

This petition was made by someone with no clue and should be erased. It is truly idiotic.

CNN just published an interesting article on bus stop safety.


It’s true the numbers of fatalities aren’t huge. It’s the age of the victims that’s so disturbing. Kids are so vulnerable and less likely to recognize danger. It’s especially gut-wrenching since this an entirely preventable tragedy.

Stopping behind a bus for a few minutes isn’t asking a lot from drivers. There’s no excuse to pass that bus. It’s a deliberate decision made by people who don’t give a damn.

So what’s stopping Arkansas from passing a stricter law, if the good folks of Arkansas think that’s a good idea? What’s the need to create a federal offence?

I guess because the FBI is better suited for investigating a school bus drive-by? :confused::confused:

A Federal law fixes the problem in all 50 states.

I’m usually not in favor of this approach. I hated the drive 55 law. Felt it was intrusive and heavy handed. I’ve always strongly supported states rights.

For me to support this petition does seem a bit strange.

But it would take a lot of time for 50 state legislatures to increase penalties for passing a school bus. That means more dead children. It hits home hard for me.

A federal law gives a much quicker remedy. It’s up to Congress to decide the penalty. The petition is just one groups suggestion.

In addition to the question of whether this law is a good idea, what’s federal about it? Even by Wickburn standards, this isn’t an interstate commerce issue, since nobody ever crosses state lines in a schoolbus to go to school. Nor am I sure what other federal power would be involved.

And seriously, “ppl”? You’re writing for an audience of the United States Congress, and you can’t be bothered to spell out “people”?

Wouldn’t it be similar to the drive 55 law under the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act ? Nixon signed it in 1974.


You could drive within your state and still had to obey the double nickel. You didn’t have to cross a state boundary.

Well, there are two, but they’re pretty small.

Now wait a minute. You’re assuming the federal law, if passed, would change drivers’ behavior. And would do so more than the existing laws in all 50 states.

I’m not sure you can say there would be “more dead children” if Congress doesn’t act.

BTW, Congress most likley would just pass an incentive (highway funds) to get all 50 states to do it. Like the drinking age. You’re still going to need some time for all 50 states to fall in line. More dead children.

Do you get hit just as hard by trampoline deaths, swimming pool deaths, etc.? Do you think that there should be a federal law for those? All those are entirely preventable, too–and in many cases are the direct result of negligence on the part of adults.

https://www.momsteam.com/sports/swimming/safety/grim-statistics-on-child-drownings

First of all, wouldn’t a federal law that includes jail time require that they serve in federal prisons? I wasn’t aware that state prisons, or county jails, was an option.

Second, did the federal government mandate 55 miles/hour, or did it just “very strongly suggest” (as in, “55 miles/hour or we cut your federal road funding,” similar to what it did in order to get every state to raise its drinking age to 21) that the states change their laws to do this - and even if it did force it, (a) what authority did it have over non-interstate roads, and (b) IIRC, didn’t some states impose some slap on the wrist penalty for driving between 55 and 70? I vaguely recall one state’s law was something like, $1 for every MPH over 55, $10 for every MPH over 65, and $100 for every MPH over 75.

I know there used to be a policy where if some number (25,000, I think) was reached, there would be a response from “someone in the White House,” albeit almost always some low-level staffer. However, it’s far too easy to come up with fake signatures to pad the numbers to know how accurate any online petition’s support really is.