Tricia Sloma interviews Indiana Sen. Todd Young on school bus safety
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Drivers, when you see a school bus with its red lights flashing and that stop arm out, you’d better stop!
Both Indiana and Michigan have stricter school bus safety laws in place, but what’s being done at the federal level?
In this exclusive interview, Tricia Sloma asked Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young about the “Stop for School Buses Act.”
Tricia: “Senator Young, thank you so much for joining us. National School Bus Safety Week of course an important time for drivers to be aware that there are school buses out on the roads and we’re taking a close look at those school bus safety laws in every state. You co-authored legislation that passed last year, and became law last year. Where are we with that research?”
Sen. Young: “Well the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently engaged in the study called for in this Stop for School Buses Act. That study will help us learn what technologies can help us improve school bus safety, how to improve our public safety awareness campaigns that rank and file Hoosiers and other Americans are aware of the dangers associated with school bus safety and generally implement more recommendations so that we can enhance our children’s safety every time they get on to the school bus.”
Tricia: “Senator, we are so careful to follow this story because of the tragedy in Fulton County where three children lost their lives at a bus stop. But it didn’t stop there. A girl in Columbus Indiana lost her life just last year. Similar situation, she was crossing a road to board her bus. Do you think more could be done regarding how children board a bus? Perhaps that door side pick up?”
Sen. Young: “Well listen, this is why we’re studying the matter. We know that more can be done and more must be done. We owe it to the memory of those children and that family in Rochester, Indiana and the one you mentioned in Columbus, Indiana and frankly as a father of four children, I wasn’t aware the extent to which these dangers are impacting our local communities and families, so it’s really important that we see this study out, and all of us play a role in informing people to be a little more safe when we get around our school buses. And take measures at the various levels of government to protect our young people.”
Tricia: “If you can, step me through the timeline. I mean we’re still researching what laws are out there, what can be done state by state. Step me through a timeline of what’s next?”
Sen. Young: “We have another year of research but in the meantime, we’re kicking off a public information campaign just to heighten the awareness of some of the dangers associated with school bus …illegal crossings in particular. As we learn things, we’ll be consulting with NHTSA and trying to identify some of the technologies they learn and changes that need to be made to laws and regulations. But of course, the full report won’t be out for another year.”
Tricia: “Senator, are you in favor of a national school bus safety standard? When it comes to perhaps fines or penalties for drivers? When they pass a bus illegally.”
Sen. Young: “I’ll look forward to the recommendations and it may well be one of the recommendations. Often times what we do at the federal level is we establish a floor and we allow states and localities to implement a heightened level of safety and care that needs to be taken in particular geographies.”
Tricia: “We thank you for updating us on this very important matter. We are following this carefully and we’ll of course be in touch with you in the months to come.”
Sen. Young: “It’s so important, thank you.”
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