By Joanne Kurt-Hilditch, October 28, 2022
The Missouri Safety Center at the University of Central Missouri is teaming up with the Missouri School Boards’ Association and several other collaborating agencies for the “Take 1 for Zero” project, funded through the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety and Traffic Division. This project involves several partners including: the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Center for Education Safety, the Missouri Parent Teacher Association (Mo PTA), Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC), Missouri Association of Pupil Transportation (MAPT), nationally recognized traffic safety specialist Cara Filler, and other traffic safety partners throughout the state.
The goal of the project is to make “1” major impact on roadway safety by focusing
on school bus stop arm violations throughout Missouri. The act of illegally passing
a stopped school bus with red lights flashing is commonly known as a “stop-arm violation”.
This is a major problem across the country, based on data from the National Association
of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPTS) that show::
- 17 million motorists commit stop-arm violations each school year
- 95,494 illegal passes were recorded from a 2019 survey of 39 states conducted by NASDPTS
- 60% of motorists passed from the front of the bus and 97% passed on the left side of the bus (stop-arm side), according to the NASDPTS survey
In Missouri, 304.050 RSMo makes it illegal for motorists to pass a school bus that
is stopped to load/unload students with its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended.
However, some motorists simply choose to ignore the law. Missouri data is lacking
and this project hopes to improve the collection and reporting.
Partners have taken on the task of raising awareness for students, parents, school staff and the public to increase awareness of attentiveness to school zones and school bus stops, while promoting existing resources that target distracted driving. Through identification of the problem by researching school districts and law enforcement agency reporting and citations given, the data can help move the project forward in reducing crashes, fatalities, and injuries at school bus loading and unloading locations. This is essential for keeping Misosuri children safe throughout the school year and reducing the law violations in the state.
The Missouri Safety Center will participate in the project in all areas but will focus on the data-gathering methods for identification of the problem in Missouri through surveys, focus groups, and feedback from law enforcement, school districts, bus drivers, and other stakeholders. The current project runs from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023 but it is hoped that the progress for this initial project will lead to further funding in the future.
“The Missouri Safety Center appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with all participating agencies on this important project. Roadway safety is something we take very seriously in the work that we do every day, and we are committed to efforts to help make our highways safer, particularly for school children," said Dr. Joanne Kurt-Hilditch, senior director of the Missouri Safety Center at the University of Central Missouri.
Anyone who has questions or who would like additional information related to this project, should please contact Kurt-Hilditch at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Roderick at the Missouri School Boards’ Association, email@example.com.