Decrease Virginia's School Bus Safety Risks

Decrease Virginia's School Bus Safety Risks

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Katrina Kernodle Walsh started this petition to Senator Tim Kaine and

We, the undersigned, join with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National PTA in advocating for (1) increasing school bus safety with three-point seat belts and (2) taking action to decrease risks for K-12 children in school redistricting decision-making.

Specifically, we are asking that Virginia officials (a) should intervene in school redistricting decision-making that increases risks for unbelted children on school buses by multiplying bus route traveling distances, road speed increases and/or increasing high-accident intersections on bus routes and (b) advance measures to ensure that school buses in the Commonwealth meet best practices recommendations regarding safety belts. 

For example, Henrico County officials are enabling a proposal that triples bus route distances, increases road speeds and increases high traffic/high speed four-way and t-intersections for impacted children who are school bus riders while providing minimal benefits in terms of HCPS goals for population control and economic diversity. Without increasing safety via installation of seatbelts, Henrico County is knowingly increasing risks without corresponding efforts toward increasing safety. We find this unacceptable.

At the federal level, the Secure Every Child Under the Right Equipment Standards Act of 2019 sponsored by New Jersey Representative Josh Gottheimer and the School Bus Safety Act reintroduced by Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen have bipartisan Congressional support. These acts are indicative of current research and best practices that reflect risk-informed decisions to protect school bus riders.  

Currently, even when likelihood of traffic incidences may be rare and unlikely, risk is “high” and “extreme” as it relates to major/critical and catastrophic consequences including permanent physical and mental injuries and/or death for K-12 children.

·    NHTSA reported 3,000 injuries to school bus passengers in 2017.

·    1,241 people died in school bus related accidents from 2008-2017.

Please act to ensure the safety of Virginia's children.

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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!