By, Chris Gilligan, Corporate Communications Manager, ACS, A Xerox Company

Robbie and Chris Gilligan

My son Robbie rides the school bus almost every day.   He likes the driver, he’s with his friends and it’s not too long of a commute. Not a bad trip for a nine-year old. But when he has to be there early, I drive him to school. Talk about an eye opening experience!

I can’t imagine anybody being in such a hurry to get to school, the mall or work that they would illegally pass a stopped school bus with kids getting on or off. But I’ve seen it happen. And most bus drivers will tell you it happens at least once a day, every day.

A new Xerox survey found that people are so concerned about this problem that they support putting cameras on the side of buses to help ticket offenders. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed thought this was a good idea. Survey results also show that 77% of respondents agree school bus drivers are too busy doing their job – focusing on student safety – to record information for vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus.

AAA, a non-profit motor club member service organization and one of the largest driver advocacy groups in the world, also supports the idea. In a Huffington Post column, last month they write: “No doubt, the school bus stop arm camera will change this behavior.” They go on to say that Maryland and Virginia passed school bus stop-arm camera laws this year. Similar laws have been enacted in New York, Connecticut, and Georgia, and in Boston, Mass. Five school districts in North Carolina are currently testing the idea.

The need for this type of safe guard is supported by countless other surveys and studies that show this is a real problem. Sadly, you don’t have to take my word for it. Thirteen children in the U.S. were killed in school bus loading and unloading accidents in the 2009-10 school year, according to the National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey, conducted by the Kansas State Department of Education. The video evidence of school bus stop-arm violations speaks volumes. This footage taken from a bus camera pilot program will make any concerned parent, driver or citizen want to yell STOP means STOP!

If your city and school district are not using school bus cameras, ask them why not. Robbie and I would appreciate it.