KSDE, KHP release 30-day school bus passing survey
Submitted by Ann Bush
A 30-Day School Bus Passing Survey, released by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) on Wednesday, Aug. 16, shows more than 9,967 violations occurred on various Kansas roadways from Jan. 23 through March 3, 2017.
Earlier this year, KSDE met with KHP regarding concerns about traffic safety around school buses. KHP recognized there is a problem and asked for more extensive information. This led to the 30-Day School Bus Passing Survey, which was conducted by KSDE in conjunction with several Kansas school districts.
Fifty-seven of Kansas’ 286 districts volunteered for the 30-day (school days) project. Data was self-reported by districts from Jan. 23 through March 3, 2017, and was then collected through Survey Monkey. The survey has several limitations. The school districts that participated volunteered to do so and weren’t randomly selected. This means the data isn’t representative of the state’s districts.
Even the districts that participated had different levels of participation. For example, some districts only participated for part of the study, while other districts only have four-day school weeks.
Information was collected from seven regions across the state. The regions coincide with KHP troop areas. Information collected included the type of roadway the bus was traveling on (city, county or highway); the time of day (morning, noon or afternoon); direction (front or rear of the bus); and side of the bus (left or right).
There were a total of 9,967 violations during the 30-day survey, with most of the violations occurring in the afternoon. There were a total of 7,692 violations reported in south-central Kansas. This includes Wichita Unified School District 259’s report of 6,888 violations.
“It only takes a second for tragedy to occur,” said Randy Watson, Commissioner of Education. “The results of this survey are an important reminder that we all need to slow down, put down the cell phones and pay attention. Nothing is more important than protecting the lives of our children.”
With the information from the survey, KHP will be working to further its education and enforcement efforts related to vehicles traveling around buses, said Col. Mark Bruce, KHP superintendent.
“The results of the survey clearly identified a significant threat to the safety of children who are bused to school,” Bruce said. “The Patrol will be working with the Kansas law enforcement community to implement enforcement and educational strategies to reduce the incidence of motorists illegally passing school buses that are in the process of loading or unloading children.”
Results of the survey can be found on the KSDE website at www.ksde.org.