tv House Transportation Subcommittee Hearing on School Bus Safety CSPAN July 29, 2019 4:35pm-6:56pm EDT
the stories. kids don't think they are vaping. they don't think they are using e-cigarettes. that's the truth. at 9:50 p.m. eastern, the ceo of a manufacturer of e-cigarettes. >> we don't want any underage consumers using this product. we need to work together to make sure no underage consumers use this product. it's terrible for business, terrible for public health, terrible for our reputation. >> watch tonight on c-span, online at c-span.org, or listen wherever you are with the free c-span radio app. at ways tonext, look improve school bus safety with an official from the national transportation safety board's office of highway safety. this subcommittee hearing was chaired by d.c. delegate eleanor holmes norton.
ms. norton: today's hearing on school bus safety is a timely hearing with children out of to see what needs to be done to keep them safe. i am interested in keeping them safe not only on school buses and as they get on and off school buses, but i am interested in keeping them safe in the streets as they go to school. it is true that school buses
have a relatively set safety record. it is also true that children or everyed every day crashes.us related more than i believe in most accidents, we owe it to our children, the students, to examine why these fatalities done tond what can be prevent them. there are some school districts, school buses in my own district, modes oftake other transportation including biking, car, goingding in a on public transportation. children are often at greater risk outside a school bus than
inside it. we have figures showing 260 four students have died in school transportation-related accidents in the last 10 years. 97 were struck by a vehicle .hile walking near the bus we are going to hear today about what congress can do to stop violations by drivers who onegally passed school buses or loading passengers and reducing fatalities and injuries as a result of these crashes. i ams i indicated, interested in what we can do whether they are on or off of buses. the burden of providing school
transportation falls on state and local districts. othersates are ahead of in improving school bus safety. we know the state of new jersey, which i am pleased is represented today and i look forward to hearing what congress can do to help ensure that we have vehicles. i want to thank each of the witnesses for appearing today. will listen very attentively to what the congress can do in recognizing that much of the responsibility falls on the state. i am pleased to recognize mr. davis.
ranking member. much,vis: thank you very madam chair. i want to welcome everyone to today's hearing. this is part of our ongoing work to reauthorize federal transportation and work policies. nearlyses transporting 25 million school-age children to and from school each day, school bus safety is an important part of this conversation. statistics show that the school bus is the safest and most regulated vehicle on the road. in fact, children are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus when compared to walking, biking, or even traveling by car. tsa's recentid, n calculations say that school bus
ofidents account for 0.4% school-age children fatalities. 4-16 die on the bus. 10-15 die as a result of cars illegally passing school buses. each fatality is more than a statistic. just this last december in my district, we saw a tragic accident where a truck collided with a school bus transporting a local basketball team home from the game. two students lost their lives in that accident. nine others were injured, including eight students. as we work to reauthorize transportation programs and policies, it is my hope that we can address school bus safety in a bipartisan manner that prevents such instances from occurring in the future.
ntsa sets the federal motor vehicle safety standards for school bus safety features, provides in-service training for bus drivers, and develops public awareness programs related to school bus safety. sa establishes rules for commercial bus driver licensing. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses about ways we can make school-age children safer as they wait for, load and unload and ride a school bus. i went to thank our witnesses for being with us this morning and i look forward to their testimony. i yield back to the chair.
>> i am pleased to recognize the ranking member and ask if he has an opening statement. >> i think i became chair, but thank you. this is our second safety hearing of the year leading up to reauthorization. , we heardhearing testimony about highway for -- fatalities. 100 people die every day in motor vehicle accidents, that's one every 15 minutes. we need to look at ways to reduce those fatalities. obviously, we are doing a lot with transportation for kids on school buses, but it's not perfect. will hear some conflicting testimony today, and i would members of the panel might
depart from prepared remarks and respond to someone who goes early, for instance. sh is going to come out quite strongly against any federal mandate on school buses for seatbelts but the ntsb is going to talk about what they a need for lap and shoulder. we will hear about how new jersey is doing, what others say is not possible. that will be an interesting contrast. i think there is much more findingial agreement on ways to better identify the bad withs out there, those poor driving records, those with significant health issues and other things.
states have moved forward with more prompt notification. new jersey, i think it is on a daily basis, any violation by school bus drivers. looking at the national registry and other things that the federal government does control benefits ine some those areas. this will help instruct us on whether we need to include any provisions in the transportation service reauthorization, which i hope to have done by early next year. with that, yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. deals the majority leader
with infrastructure. hearing will provide us with information that could be included in the bill. i did not use all of my time and i am pleased to provide my remaining time to mr. cohen, who had an experience that i think is the best way to lead off this hearing. i yield to my good friend from tennessee, two and a half minutes. mr. cohen: thank you, madam chair. in 2016, there were unfortunately two school bus crashes that were notable in the country. one was in baltimore. one was in chattanooga. a total of 12 children were killed. in chattanooga, six children were killed and 20 injured. after those crashes, the ntsb issued a series of safety recommendations to the national highway safety administration. that was great.
one of the recommendations included enacting laws to have buses haveool three-point seatbelts. others included inclusion of collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking technology. sadly and unfortunately, nationalbly, the highway transportation safety administration has not initiated the process to apply any of these measures. why, i have no idea. they should have acted before this. today i introduce the school bus safety act with tammy duckworth that ensures to make school buses safer by having bytbelts on every seat, requiring school buses to be equipped with fire protection
systems to address engine fires, and to create a grant program to help school districts modify buses to meet these safety accommodations. there is no more precious cargo than our children. i have been trying to do this since i was a state senator. i know it is difficult, but it's something we need to do. safety belts will save lives. i yield back. i think the gentleman from tennessee. i ask unanimous consent to declare recesses throughout today's hearing. without objection, so ordered. i also ask unanimous consent to sit with the subcommittee in today's hearing and ask questions. i am going to introduce a panel , but first i want
mr. davis to introduce mr. john benish. pleased toi am introduce mr. john benish junior, president of the national school transportation association under resident of the great state of illinois. thank you for testifying today and then queue for all of the commendable work you and other bus operators do in keeping our kids safe. number of kidsg that travel safely back and forth to school every day on your school buses ought to also be commended. we ought to address issues in transportation safety regarding school buses and other modes of transportation, but let's not ever forget the fact that an overwhelming amount of students, the overwhelming majority arrive safely, go home safely, and do it again the next day until they graduate high school like my
kids did this year. no more school buses for me for a while, but thank you for your service, and thank you for being here today. >> and q, mr. davis. -- thank you, mr. davis. i am going to run down the witnesses and welcome the first witness. happy to welcome the honorable mr. mclean, the honorable brenda fulton, chair and chief administrator new commissionr vehicles . paulin, deputy director of the office of highway safety, national transportation safety board. -- annd farrell
farrell, and finally, mr. , president ofn the teamsters local 384 in pennsylvania. , butve my coughing cold welcome, all of you, we are going to proceed left to right. fiveyour testimony within minutes, your opening statement, rather, within five minutes. to speak as mr. mclean, speaking for the national conference of state legislators. you may proceed. turn on your microphone. >> thank you very much.
distinguished members of the house subcommittee, my name is cochair ofan, i am the national conference of state nationalres resources and infrastructure committee. i am here representing the 50 state legislatures and legislatures of our nations andonwealth, territories, the district of columbia. every day school children climb into 485,000 buses across the country that take them to and from school activities. thankfully, school buses are statistically the safest way to transport children. however, 61 children died in accidents between 2008-2017, and this is 61 to many. determined fall into three distinct categories. laws requiring seatbelts. laws requiring cameras to
site drivers who illegally pass a school bus, and laws affecting drivers. 33 states have considered more than 200 bills in 2019 thus far. compare this to only one hundred 32 bills in 2014 and 173 bills in 2015. you can see there has been an up tick in legislative interest in school bus safety. energybuses use high absorbing seatbacks and closely spaced seats so that children are cap snug. these features do not necessarily protect children the way seatbelts do during side impact crashes or rollovers, when passengers could be thrown from their seats. in may, 2017, a school bus accident took the life of one student and one teacher in new
jersey. as a result, new jersey required seatbelts. seven other states required seatbelts on school buses. in 20 18, more than 108,000 school bus drivers observed 84,000 vehicles illegally passing school buses in a single day. tonkfully, cars are required stop and remain stopped when a school bus arm and flashing red lights are deployed. in 2018, wyoming became the first state to require school buses to be equipped with cameras to catch motorists illegally passing school buses. states have also added language to address privacy concerns. in alabama, the video cannot include the face of the driver or passenger and must be destroyed within 90 days if there is no violation.
states have also moved to increase penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus. illinois now requires revocation of a driver's license and someone illegally passes a school bus and the violation leads to a motor vehicle crash resulting in death. i would like to state how states has strengthened requirements for drivers. all must take preemployment drug and alcohol testing as well as random testing during employment. dates of increased driver training requirements. rhode island enacted a law requiring annual training for school bus drivers that includes an in-service training series. servingmy fourth term as state legislator in the house of representatives and the third time chairing this committee and this past session was the most active in terms of legislation addressing school bus safety.
just over a month ago in mid-june, maine past two bills focused on bus safety. one will now require school buses purchased after this year to be equipped with a school bus crossing arm and another addressed the issue of cars passing school buses. initially, there was interest in simply increasing fines for violators, but we know that increasing penalties does not solve the problem. stakeholders including community members and local and state police and this group identified that the enforcement of existing laws is the challenge because there is no way to identify the vehicle when the bus driver is the only person to witness the violation. groupthe working authorized the use of a camera and traffic control device to identify the violator. this was very controversial given our state's high regard
for privacy, but the testimony from grieving parents and community members was powerful and convincing. too many kids are being hurt or killed while near a school bus. i thank you for the opportunity to testify on this important topic and i look forward to your questions. ms. norton: thank you very much. next, the chair and chief administrator of the new jersey motor via local -- motor vehicle commission. >> thank you and good afternoon. i am here representing the new jersey motor vehicle commission and governor murphy, and we are grateful for the opportunity to speak on such an important topic. heard, a, as you school bus crash and mount olive, new jersey, tragically took the life of a fifth-grader and a social studies teacher. injured dozens of children.
this crash broke our hearts and caused us to take a close look at how we keep our kids safe. new jersey is second to none in ensuring that our school buses are safe. each one is inspected at least twice a year with a review of driver qualifications as well as school safety. our task force conducts an additional 100 unannounced inspections. unannounced inspections have been particularly critical to identifying private operators who have unqualified operators driving their school buses. we started requiring lap belts on all school buses in 1992 and we remain one of only seven states that requires them. we started to require every bus be equipped with a crossing arm that prevents children from passing directly
in front of the bus. this was modeled on a law from washington state. with the passing of abigail's law, all new jersey school buses were required to have sensors in front and back to detect if an object or small child was below the field of view. night, we generate a report -- the motor vehicle department generates a report of any driver whose license has been suspended. after the devastating loss of ennifer williamson new jersey department of education for action. ut after the devastating loss of jennifer williamson and 10-year-old miranda, we resolved to do even more. signed eight y laws in improving the safety of school buses, drivers, and supervisors.
if they receive three or more moving violations in a three more eriod or six or points. and they must complete a defensive driving course before restored. three local boards of education or the bus contractor that rovides the people transportation services are notified by the department of ed f suspensions within one working day and must confirm with h within one business day suspended driver is no longer operating a school bus. four, in addition to the commercial driver's license for medical certification, from a federal examiner every two years, school bus drivers age 70 evidence of avide
medical exam every year and over must 75 and provide evidence of an exam every six months. bus e local level school drivers and school bus aids must biannuallye training and school district transportation survivors must complete an approved an ification program at institute of higher education. respects we're fortunate that our governor, education commissioner, state legislators, congress have all together my message would
be don't wait for another child to die before you take action. questions.our thank you for the opportunity to testify. appreciate that testimony. theood afternoon members of subcommittee. ntsb you for inviting the to testify today. travel is is one of the safest orms of transportation on our roads today. children are safer travelling in school buses than in any other vehicle. but still, improvements can be made. oday, i will know quos my remarks on ntsb recommended improvements related to occupant protection, driver oversight, fire protection, and the safety children in the school bus
loading zone. occupant t form of protection on large school buses is a passive system that frontal well in collisions. nfortunately in side impact collisions and roll overs it's ncomplete and provides insufficient protection. recommended we performance standards be developed that account for all types of collisions and rollovers. n 2008 -- a final rule was published for lap and lap shoulder belts if voluntarily large school buses. there is still no federal requirement for large school be equipped.
additional, more recent school the rashes have emphasized need for change. last year following the crash in recommended was that each state require shoulder large nstalled in new school buses. poor driver oversight resulted unsafe operations in the tennessee crash and another 2016 crash in baltimore, maryland.
hid this during his medical examination. although baltimore city public schools was responsible failed er oversight, it to identify the bus driver as high risk. has investigated several bus fires dating back to 1988 bus collision near carrollton kentucky that resulted in 27 deaths. recently, in december, fire ignited in a school bus in iowa and spread into the passenger compartment resulting two deaths. with anwas not equipped automatic fire suppression system that would have delivered the press president inside engine compartment increasing the time to evacuate. recommendations to ntsa to require fire suppression buses. in school we also addressed similar
recommendations directly to the bus manufacturers. in addition, we recommended that updated for be lapbility of school bus interior -- flamebility -- flammability. following our investigation of a 016 collision in which a child was fatally struck while crossing the roadway to board bus in minnesota, the oard recommended that ntsa update guidelines on pupil transportation safety to address issues related to route selection. e are now investigating three additional loading zone crashes in indiana, georgia, and in order to identify countermeasures for preventing or mitigating future injuries fatalities in the school bus loading zone. thank you for the opportunity to for de our recommendations
improving school bus safety. will be pleased to answer any questions you have. >> thank you, doctor. and ceo cook, illinois on behalfn testifying f the national school transportation association. you may proceed. afternoon. thank you for calling this hearing today and the inviation invitation to testify. i would like to also acknowledge my wife who is here with me today. my dad, john started the company buses.8 with 75 today the company operates 2200 transport s and we over 100,000 children each day in the chicagoland area. started in the business as a
teenager and have worked nearly very position including driver and occasionally you'll see me driving to keep in touch with and students. the ere today on behalf of national school transportation association. rivate companies provide approximately 38% of the nation's school bus service. became the new president yesterday in austin, texas at our annual meeting. saying in our industry we bleed yellow showing our the tment to safety for children we transport. each day nearly 500,000 school 26 million ort over school.s to and from more than inner city transit rail and aviation combined. according to dot, the school bus form of surface transportation and the school vehicle on thest
road. school buses prays in road and ighway environments where approximately 37,000 fatalities annually. mourn with the entire school transportation community and families when incidents occur and attempt to learn from these accidents to ensure continued student transportation. despite the safety record, children remain vulnerable the trip portion of when they wait for the bus stop, ross streets, and load and unload from the bus. dot statistics show an average of 22 students are killed outside the school bus compared to the arch of four or students killed inside the bus. is ing a stopped school bus illegal in all 50 states. estimated 15ate an million vehicles illegally pass bus in a 180 day
family were killed by a driver who failed to stop for kids the ing the road to board school bus. these tragedies can be prevented. we believe this is the most facing the sue school bus transportation industry eclipsing all others. this is why we're enthusiast enthusiastically supporting bipartisan bills introduced in house by representatives -- act.staff for school bus i would like to ask for a revised support letter from associationstional to be inserted into the record. if we're serious about saving lives, this is the issue to tackle. regarding seat belts in school issue is believe this most appropriately decided at the state and local level streams o the funding for school transportation and and decisions ns o mandate buses can be
examined. tonk you for the opportunity testify and i look forward to answering any of your questions. you.thank madame chair. thank you for the opportunity to be here today with this panel to speak on the important issue of school bus safety. i'm here on behalf of amba that model programs in motorcycle vehicle administration, law enforcement, safety.way our mission is to support the state and provincial and the torial officials in
u.s. and canada who administer laws.force motorcycle our north star is safety. safe drivers, safe vehicles, identities and saving lives. with guidance we develop uniformity encourage ands are processty in the administration of these state and across international borders. a good illustration of our work of our state ort members in their efforts to comply with national laws drivers. commercial just one example. in that role, the supporting facilitate port and the development of best testing.s on cdl we facilitate an understanding and communication on federal requirements. come ose changes that about periodically. and we work on both building and supporting an operating the applications and networks across which cdl driver convictions, suspensions, and other cancel are transmitted.
we rely heavily on our jurisdiction members to guide work and we on's consider the dmv and highway be the gency members to experts in these areas. with this in mind and nderstanding we have a distinguished panel of jurisdiction leaders at the table far more equal identified programs, specific i've limited my written comments national programs in which we may or may not or is currently involved. employer al notification system, the concept or i should say the transmission driver medical fitness data, and some background in that written testimony on the driver's license information system. the network across which so much of that travels. forward to the committee's discussion and your questions and thank you again for the opportunity to join this panel today. >> thank you.
cha chairwoman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for here to testify today. i am the secretary and treasure teamsteres lowly 34 out of pennsylvania. y set up national contracting goals and policies for teamster chool bus drivers across the country. i'm honored to be here today to concerns of ty drivers monitors and mechanics we represent. these hardworking men and women had an honor of representing for over 18 years to make their industry and job safer. federal laws and regulations do school othing to help bus drivers. once a school bus comes off the tlp are no g line, federal rules requiring that it
working n the state condition. many people are shocked to learn that the u.s. government plays setting role in minimum standards for school bus operations in our country. a recipe for disaster. private companies use businesses money or small districts strapped for cash are often thrift decide whether investing new buses isrs and a smart financial decision nstead of whether it is the right one. this should never be just a dollars and cents calculation. t should be based on what is safest for our children each and every time. in my view, many of these the lack ome down to of rules governing school bus operations across the country. the privatize school bus industry has an example of this. one-third of operations in this nation are privatize. ut there are no national standards dictating if unsafe or unreasonable bids by private this work is. do almost any bus company can come
off the street and make a bid to your kids to school. oftentimes this means it's small bus companies who don't have the money to invest in new buses or drivers enough to keep qualified people in the drivers and offer way n less than that should to do this work. you may think no school district ould accept this kind of offer and i wish you were right but in many cases, school districts are orced by law to accept the lowest bid they receive. and for cash strapped school districts, saving money anywhere appealing no matter what the long term cost. this practice also puts safe and carriers trying to do the right thing at a disadvantage. carriers forced to take care of their buses and reward punished for re making those investments.
we can make sure basic standards are in place so that no school falls in the cracks. when they don't do the work kids taken to school and overcrowded vehicles in the aisles on top of each other danger.them at huge if there is a crash or sharp i did road, you need to make sure that anyone bidding on a bus route has real place soce programs in kids aren't being take on the broken n a bus with a tires and worse.
only get paid nine months a year unlike other school employees. day of them can't afford a off if they are too sick to drive and oftentimes they'll be or fired if they do. many drivers need to work ultiple jobs just to make ends meet so they're exhausted when they show up to drive the route. is that how you want someone who school to your kid to be treated? lack of federal oversight of basic safety standards for drivers puts us all at risk. t's time for congress to take the lead and drive up standards in this industry so that no on d is put in harm's way
their way to school. thank you and i look forward to your questions. thank you. amazed to see that so many school bus drivers may not even be in anyone's jurisdiction they're privatize. something the committee needs to at. i'm going to begin with questions. all, we heard many things that need to be changed and many helpful suggestions you. now, remembering that we're is ral authorities, this congress, and much of the jurisdiction lies in the states, ask each of ke to you as my first question to the federal government for you to ing do you what priority
think congress should place of improvements that are needed generally speaking, we prefer the states prefer a carrot versus a stick. one of the great things about there are cy is that so many laboratories of democracy. different states explore solutions. >> so you don't think there's something the congress can do? several hink there are different things that the federal government can do. one is research the effectiveness of different states are at exploring. one thing that i mentioneded in
exploring the stop arm easy, the cross -- arms, crossing guards. little data on what is going to solve the problem of ids being hurt and killed on and around school buses and so continuing with the research strategies is one way the federal government can play a role. vising ally, insent safety programs within states is tool to insent vise different -- incentivize different states. down the line. broad.ery >> thank you, madame chair. standpoint, i would prioritize a notification system crosses states. you know, in new jersey, our drivers are driving in other quite frequently and while our -- >> identification systems? sorry. notification system. >> notification.
if -- let me give you an example. if a new jersey driver is outside the state we et noticed that they've got a suspension and we can notify but if a new york driver offends in state, that notice maybe sent through the mail. a period of time before new york finds out that this school bus driver was convicted f something putting him over the number of points. so the systems to go -- there lot of 've gotten a support from the american ssociation of motorcycle vehicle administration but while there are some ways to cross states in terms of identifying a taken out should be of that driver's seat -- >> i want to get it all before minutes is up. that's a classic thing that the i thank you do so for that. >> thank you for the question. advocated for ng vehicle design aspects dealing stability prevention,
control systems, forward collision avoidance, occupant everyone is talking about lap shoulder belts. talking aboutntly post crash events so fire protection to ensure -- things that you think only congress can do? >> vehicle design aspects. focused to ntsa. >> i would say one of the things have mentioned is the stop act illegal passing that's we have a bill out there right now and as i mentioned -- >> you say that's the federal government can do that. yes. >> okay. > and like i said the statistics, each day there's at least 80,000 illegal passings. just trying to get the priority. >>. >> yes, ma'am. support of chief fulton's comment regarding oversight of rivers resources and tools to
ensure that states and companies access to drivers. >> thank you. secretary. >> yeah. just one thing that we don't a t to look for is there's shortage of bus drivers across this country and legislation eliminate or diminish the pool of drivers would be trying tol issue when find who's taking these children to school. but we agree that there should a standardization. we think the bidding process needs to be adjusted where all at the safety k aspects as opposed to accepting other est bid and the thing is we believe in certainly but the safety standardize asian of the safety across -- standardization of the safety roles. >> thank you. those are very helpful suggestions.
sounds to me that it's way behind giving those suggestions things we could do so i appreciate those suggestions. from all mmendations of you. i'm going to ask mr. davis our ranking member if he would offer his questions at this time. >> thank you. of monticellodent district in illinois. e's -- ensuring -- he's particularly focused on the role technology can play in keeping our children safe when they exit street.and cross the in fact, this past january, his school district purchased stop cameras to report vehicles illegally passing a school bus. doesn't ough that he want to stop there and he's always looking for new temperature keep his students and our kids safe. in mind, are there
technologies that we can better utilize to increase safety of children crossing the stopped front of a bus? >> what we're looking at right now is illegal passing laws sure that we look at not only the technology as far as we discussed the other day that if there is a stop or you have a st like system where ambulances can go through red lights, a system where that would be hooked up to a bus. in would talk to the cars the area knowing there's a slowing down or stopped school bus. like to do also creative public safety messaging nd we would also like to do more technology as far as training with the drivers. >> okay. anybody else want that question? technology? innovation? >> yeah. i'll add to that. a little technology. it's available out there. story real quick is i had a school bus driver
boys and first grade he let three off at one stop and the fourth at the following stop. up one ofe mom picked the boys to take home herself so the bus driver is on his run and having three at one stop, he only had two but second stop m the and the other one stop kid got off with the other two. stop to ls up to the let three boys off when he only had two and three get off. following stop and he finds -- he secures the vehicle and the mom is waiting to get off and there's no child. where is that child? he mom doesn't know and the driver doesn't know. that child got off at the previous stop. there.e technology out we can scan a bar code in easily you y comings and then store anywhere why don't we have scans yard on a child who in when he gets on and off the bus. everybody knows where they are. it's easy to check. helps the drivers and the parents and helps keep them
safe. of if there was some kind fatality accident, the first esponders would certainly know how many children boys and girls and their ages on that bus so shadows't have to chase when they get there. >> thank you very much. excellent advice. welcome back. are there any existing barriers that federal level prevent states from the local evels from adopting innovative safety solutions? davis, to see er what that would be in regard to motor e perspective of vehicle -- national programs federal agency. and as i think chief fullton indicated, structuring a program the state level. are you spiking to a technology
employer notification system? >> no. unless you have something to add previous question. but i just want to know you've ad experience at that witness table before and are there any barriers that you see at the federal level that would stop governments from implementing some of the just heard?we >> well, i really appreciate that question. just not in a position to answer a barrier at the federal level at this time. you, ms. fulton? >> thank you, ranking member. any ve not run into arriers to strengthening the protections other than what i keeping hich had is track of what happens interstate. outsidetrack of drivers the state. >> that's okay. i saved mr.
who in for last based upon he's representing. what barriers do you think exist because clearly we see in the others don't feel there are any barriers to state and ocal legislators and local officers being able to change and implement more safety standard as. >> i think one of the most barriers is money. so when we enact bills at the considering we're what local school districts and local cities and towns have for a budget. so every time we put a requirement on local cities and towns, we have to incorporate sort of fiscal impact. that's a significant barrier at the state level that we have to when passing these laws. >> i would ask you how we can fix it but i'm out of time. i yield back. mr. garcia.
you, chairman woman norton and ranking member davis hearing.izing this as a father of three, i know how be to worry can about our children's safety and efforts of this committee to evaluate these measures today. poland.n for ms. as you mentioned in your written and emergency brake mitigate andrve to prevent collisions. earlier this year i joined hank johnson from georgia to the safe roads act to require commercial motor with an to be equipped automatic emergency break or aeb in 2015 in an agreement with the national highway traffic safety administration or that the ntsb recommended
all -- come standard with all -- enger > recently we recommended this technology for school buses in chattanooga and special investigation report. in the work you're talking about emergency breaking provides protection in the last moments if there is a crash that imminent and provides that breaking to mitigate the forces involved with the crash and in cases to avoid it. he ntsb has been a long advocate for this kind of technology. you.hank
clean bus act to accelerate the nations bus fleet. 25 million school aged children rely on the school bus school get to and from daily. the tail pipe emissions that transit exposed to in and while idling in these buses especially y toxic in schoolyards, they're in urban next to residential areas. i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the 2019 american lung association's of the air report which highlights the --
including school buses. >> so ordered. you.hank this pollution negatively affects school attendance, health, and test scores. a burden that tends to fall on and studentsudents of color like those in the on rict i represent chicago's southwest to northwest sides. help ld provide grants to states replace diesel buses with student buses to reduce exposure to tail pipe emissions thecurb our contribution to time of crisis. as a former ounty xhilgser and state legislator, i understand the struggles that states deal with o find funding for safety measures like these. do you believe that states and local government would be of additional federal grants to modernize and he bus -- eh ntify the -- electrify the school
bus fleet. absolutely. i think -- >> back to ms. poland. in your investigation of the bus fire, you noted that the school bus engine designs mitigate the spread of gases into the passenger compartment. exacerbate a situation involving a fire but can you peak to whether or not these fumes can regularly enter into the passenger compartment even absence of a fire? >> our investigation of course the post crash fire in that event and when there was in the nificant fire engine compartment how the incomplete fire wall led to the into eing able to spread the passenger compartment. > can you comment on the entrance of fumes into the bus cavity? currently does not have a position on that aspect. you.kay. thank
we can mitigate the effects of a before they happen or even make that crash less vulnerable inside. ay wants >> looking -- occupants inside. consistent been a primary factor contributing to crashes over the last several is each case just unique such that you can't stablish a trend or is the sample size not large enough? >> so the ntsb typically severe ates extremely crashes but may not be representative of all crashes ut obviously there's a wide variety of causes and that's why we look at divinity recommendations to address those ountermeasures so you're hearing some of those today from drivers ersight of the to technology interventions to also increasing the time to
crash events st such as fire or water immersion. to what extent do we think verall congestion on the roads increasing congestion which obviously would vary regionally, locally, is creating more safety concerns. for example, i have a bill that ould allow logging trucks access to highways to get them local roads. sort of easy tore transit than lot of roundwith a acts in central wisconsin. and off now getting on the bus crossing the street waiting for the bus can put in significant danger. local buses operate on roads so if your expert opinion, would reducing congestion in eneral and large vehicles like
logging trucks from logging roads improve the safety of school buses. >> sop school buses are large ehicles and typically in most crashes with passenger vehicles they fair very well. unfortunate -- they fare very well. unfortunately in crashes with other large vehicles that's see the vulnerability. touess i would encourage you consider unintended consequences solutions of technology as we were discussing earlier. >> certainly ntsb is the expert did issics but
our tragic crash happened on a highway with a large vehicle the ing the school bus on highway, major highway. >> certainly respect the unintended consequences. ofbably why i'm on this side the aisle. i appreciate your answers and thank you for the dedicated work that he does. >> i'm sure it was not unintended. very much, mr. gallagher. fulton, first of all, fellow income unanimouslyingen. happy to see you here and very
new ed to see the strides jersey has been making in mproving school bus safety going forward especially after he tragic accident in mount ah live which happened in my district as you know. i was able to meet miranda's couple of sister a weeks ago when they came to advocate for reater federal involvement in preventing tragedies like this again.from ever happening in that context, i wanted to ask more say a little bit about new jersey's employer system.ation i think you began to a little bit earlier. as i understand, it was recently updated to better prevent bad drivers from getting behind the bus and i wonder if
you could explain how this system works and some of the we've made. >> yes. thank you. so we at motor vehicle when a is posted uspension by the courts or law enforcement that river's license and driver's license has a school endorsement. week.ys a we generate a report. anyone who holds that school bus endorsement whose license has been suspended and that goes directly to the department of ed department of ed was notifying operators. change in the law first that the he time employer has and the department 24 hours to has notify the operator whether it's private of ed or the operator that this driver has must uspended and they
confirm within another 24 hours that that driver is off the road a school bus and the second piece of the we don't n is that just do that for suspensions or or over, we're now get 6ed to do that if you points or more or three moving violations in a the-year period. there are more stringent requirements and the shortened.on has this is still relatively new. how it works. from that to -- across state lines issue. infraction, ad an let's say someone had six points moved to new te jersey, what would happen and would it happen?
first, congressman, if there's a notice of suspension may get her state, we that any number of ways depending on whether we have an agreement with that state where something electronically or whether we get it in the mail the way that we communicate with our sister states. so it may come in the mail and take time. it has to be managed manually. the six points, now that's a new new jersey rule and we have not gotten the -- that to happen automatically. right. not an automatic trigger of six points that come from another state. posed to the new jersey driver's license we can manage it but the real trick is other noticed from the state how long does it take for in nviction that happens pennsylvania or new york.
how long does it take for that new ction to get posted in jersey. that's manual process many times. leads to the t obvious final question which is ems employer ional notification system would be helpful. >> a national notification helpful for us for sure and, you know, i know amba before but we use their existing system for information so that would be helpful. >> great. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. it may be that there's something hat this committee can do to make sure that, that national system occurs so i appreciate questions. mr. palmer. chairman.ou, madame nhtsa foubd that # 7 pedestrians under the age of 8 were killed in school
transportation related crashes between 2008 and 2017. do you know how many were struck by vehicles going around the bus? of that 97? the national transportation safety board? does anyone have an idea? certainly there's data available on those crash statist ntsb accidents are a portion of those numbers you're looking at and as i mentioned, we have three ongoing investigations in three where we're tes looking at that. >> i have several questions that ask about this. i think it's important to know how many of these fatalities the result of people going around the bus as opposed to the running over the child. and e got both situations the reason i bring that up is
testimonies ng the -- testimony pointed out that the passing of stopped loading or during unloading in all 50 states has proportions.mic 2018, t recent survey in 105,308 school bus drivers eported 87,000 vehicles illegally passed their stopped school bus in one day. is incomprehensible to me that, that many people are that stupid. are that unconcerned about the safety of the kids on that bus. based on the observations if you rojected that out over 180 day school year that's 15 million vehicles illegally passing a school bus. to think it's important know, madame chairman, how many injuriesfatalities and are because people are passing school buses. we may need to take a look
the state level for those of you involved in the legislature, ms. fulton lean, the penalties should be much more severe for when around school buses it's stopped. important tould be know, you know, what's going on with that and the other thing ask is that a inber of these accidents are rural areas. ms. poland, about why so many of them are in rural areas? lot of discussion about congested streets. that's not an issue where i grew up and i rode a school bus when i was a kid. 64 by the way. >> well, i guess it's unfortunate to report that the ational association of state directors of pupil
transportation yesterday put out last w statistics for the school year and now they're reporting that there's over 5,000 illegal passings in that single day from 39 states that are reporting that information. the ntsbioned earlier, is looking at three crashes. of those are in what you would classify as rural areas. our investigators are currently looking at a variety of ifferent countermeasures including route planning and countermeasures to make recommendations to our board to assist in this process. >> i want to get to some lead to somet will solutions. okay. so what i'm suggesting look at these crash statistics, rural versus suburban, urban. at the number of vehicles that are going around school buses. know whether or not these are rural incidents or areas.er
in regard to these higher speed highways, where i currently live, we have a highway where it's 55 but during the certain are of day when kids coming to school and leaving the school, that speed limit is to about 25 miles per hour. it may be that particularly in ural areas you treat this like you would construction zones. somebody brought this up. good idea that maybe during those times, we do it like a construction zone. time.ify you ahead of you've got to bring your speed down. buses you've got school operating in the area and now that's going to create some transport vehicles and things like that but i'll cost for a loaf of bread or a bottle of water, hatever, if it saves the life of a kid. if i may, one last thing. on a roll. look at this too. is something that i wanted
about.mr. mcclean the legislative role in this and too.fulton my concern is about the abuse of have l in some states requirements for how many hours after a bus driver consumes alcohol. that should also include recreational marijuana and the that concerns me is that there are commercial drivers who a lot eir license and in of cases self-report and i think have a database where to ne applies for a license drive a school bus there's a database that is searchable and determine whether or not someone has lost their license before we put them behind the wheel of a bus carrying our kids. what do you think about that? >> he's over time. would you take those suggestions under advisement?
chairman for her indulgence. i yield back. palmer for his comments. especially this notion about penalties more evere for passing of a school bus. that's something that we need to raising a federal issue. we could do that recognizing laws are of these local and mr. palmer raised a number of issues. i think this was raised before about studies that we need to do simply do not have. we can't pass another bill ithout making sure that those tudies are not -- and statistics are not mandated. thank you, mr. palmer. cohen. >> thank you. first i would like to address my fulton.n to ms.
thank you for the good work you've done in new jersey. the seem way ahead of game. super. why is new jersey been able to make significant progress toward improving school bus safety with elts when it's so difficult in other states? i will be ngressman, honest with you. it makes a difference when the the members of our new jersey congressional delegation make it a priority, continue to work actively community, he speaking out about it, and peaking to our state legislators. we've had incredible support members ofboard from congress and the governor -- >> who is your governor? governor phil murphy. and this is something that was important o him and to our members of congress and they made it happen.
listen, no one wants to wait for when it happens, you know, that's an opportunity position to in a make a difference can choose to really -- >> were you part of the campaign to make it happen? the lobbying effort? >> i was not. i don't lobby for legislation in position as motor vehicle commissioner. >> do you recall the main people the bills? >> against the bills? >> yeah. >> there wasn't significant opposition. there was -- you know, there were questions about the the ional cost but additional cost of a couple on a 54 passenger bus is for -- it's cost for school but there was a lot of support from the school districts where they had had go forward with it. >> thank you, ma'am. mess poland, let -- ms. poland, me ask you. the ntsb clearly recommended hat all new large school buses
be equipped with lap and shoulder belts. that.obably remember i'm sure everybody does. in addition, the american of pediatric's position is new school buses should be equipped with school buses. it so important that this common sense safety equipment that's already saved thousands lives be placed in all large school buses? i mentioned in my opening statement, we know school buses re extremely safe but they're vulnerable in certain crashes and over and over again we're seeing children injured and types of severe crashes. he technologies have changed over time. initially we recommended occupant protection systems but now we're seeing that lap belts are well designed and in fact in certain see mstances we're able to how they're performing in crashes and finding that very well re protected in these new designs of belts. that's why we came out with our to the states to
have new large school buses be equipped with passenger lap belts. >> i vaguely recall when i ago ored this 20 odd years maybe that there was some safety on about the belts that the seats are angles cular at right and they're stiff and don't move it would hurt their necks if they were strapped in. is that an argument that's been made? is ash argument that's, fortunately technology has advanced so they can protect an unbelted occupant behind occupants belted as well. these tudied some of crashes with onboard video amera systems somehowing the outcome and seeing there's good protection with these modern lap buses. belts in school >> thank you. the ntsb also recommended breaking emergency
technology. widely available. that that should be part of the school bus? >> correct. advocating aalways for crash protection. -- nology like forward electronic stability control if they can activate at that last crash happens, in some cases, we can avoid the in other together and cases lower the severity of the crash. it's important for school buses vehicles. all >> thank you. and those are the reasons which here while scussed senator duckworth introduced the bus safety act. thank you, madame chair. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. i allowed mr. palm tore ask a slightly hen he was out of time but it was the time given
remaining for the question to be answered. those of who you do palmer's rs to mr. question to submit it in writing and i will make sure that those answers get into the record. >> thank you, madame chair. mr. l assist that because palmer -- representative palmer took some of my questions talking about rural communities impact took mysentative palmer question talking about rural communities and the impact of bus travel for those students. i did have a stat that 52% of the school bus crashes occur in rural communities. that is done by the national
traffic highway safety administration that was done. onld all of you elaborate recommendations we can do to improve safety in rural communities? there is one district that is all state route or gravel roads. wayudent is on that bus one to to to an half hours for travel. i would ask if there are any thoughts you have of safety concerns that have been addressed for the rural communities since 52% of the school bus incidents happen in rural communities. i don't know that i have suggestions for rural communities. states to allowing explore the solutions and having
the federal government permit the states to explore those solutions is really important to figure out what the best solutions are. probably never going to eliminate all accidents, but we need to figure out the best ways to reduce the number of accidents. i don't have specific recommendations for viral. -- for rural. >> does anyone have suggestions? >> i don't know that this is specific to rural communities, but in our state, urban and rural communities both may have less resources at their school board than suburban communities. that one of the things that is critically important for us is the inspection from the state level of the school bus to ensure they are not allowing the lack of resources to lead to the school buses not staying maintained and not meeting the standards. just as important, when we do
the inspections, both announced and unannounced, we checked the driver records. are you sure the drivers have a current medical certification, the current cdl? you would be surprised how often private operators used when funds run low, we have 330 summonses in this base of one year in our inspection where private operators failed to keep those things current. that leads to people being behind the wheel that are not qualified. >> madame chairman, i will switch gears a little bit. according to the national highway safety administration, the greatest risk to schoolchildren is getting on and off the school bus. have any states successfully
implemented reforms to better prevent these violations? >> i was just going to comment on the last question on the rural. coast, onlly, on the the east and west coast, you don't see it as much. in the rural areas, you see it where the driver takes the bus home to them. they do not report to a terminal or yard. the driver just gets on the bus and goes on their route. in rural areas, you would probably need to make sure those vehicles are inspected and up-to-date with a little more oversight and also that the driver is current in their training in that area. >> ok. beingd like to comment, one of the bus drivers. i have a cdl and have driven for over 25 years. i think what mr. palmer said, more signage in those areas,
making sure would put specific speed limits down at certain times of the day to slow down just as with construction sites. as i mentioned in my opening statement, we do have a new act to stop for school buses. we want more public messaging, especially for new drivers, and more talk about distracted driving which was involved with the accident in rochester. three students were killed this past year in rural indiana, all from the same family, early in the morning. >> thank you. madame chairman, thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. balderson. mr. payne. >> thank you. ms. fulton, it is good to have you here. i don't know if you are aware of this. probably not. asore my time in congress,
president of the city council in norton, new jersey, i was in student transportation for 10 years. for one of the educational commissions and started out as a school bus monitor where i was out on routes in the morning doing spot inspections and making sure up,dren were being picked all those type of issues. i worked my way up to supervisor of transportation where i was responsible for 10,000 children on school buses a day, handling norton public schools transportations and special needs routes for the county. our most vulnerable students, structure-bound children that were paraplegic. this is where i cut my teeth on public service, so i am really
glad to see that we are here discussing these issues. i'm also proud that new jersey is on the cutting edge of safety . i fully understand the need for safe school buses and commend you for your work to increase safety. children, i have triplets. in new jersey, they have early school intervention where students go to school as early as 3:00. -- as early as three. my children were on school buses at three years old. there is one of them taking pictures of me right now. he has made it pretty far. new jersey is a leader when it comes to school bus safety, requiring all school buses to have the three-point safety belts. yet, the federal government does
not require all school buses have this. can you explain how the three-point safety belts improve bus safety? do you think it would be in the country's best interest to have these belts required nationwide? >> thank you, congressman payne. i did not get a chance to agree with my friend from the teamsters, but school bus drivers are incredibly valuable and incredibly underpaid for the responsibility we give them. >> i agree. >> in terms of statistics on three-point belts, we get all of our stats from the national transportation safety board. to make sure i do not screwed that up, i'mrewed one to defer to her for the information on that. >> the ntsb has looked at a wide variety of crashes. i have been investigating crashes with school buses for over 20 years looking at how
school bus passengers --hat crash withh the different belts. we found recent advancements in the design of the lap-shoulder belts has provided excellent protection for the occupants in a variety of different crashes. knowing the baseline level, minimum performance for large school buses, right now, compartmentalization is incomplete in many catastrophic crashes that involve side impacts and rollovers. lap shoulder belts provide that protection for occupants. withalso was able to meet miranda's father and her family several weeks ago. i am wondering. jersey, we have the new are they really a good foundation for the possibility of federal laws across the
country. anybody who wants to weigh in, please feel free. >> we are still learning what will have the greatest impact. >> yes or no from anybody else. my time is running out. >> it is our position the federal government should leave it to the states to explore different solutions because there are different solutions for each state. >> speaking with a variety of people that have implemented the lap shoulder belts in various jurisdictions, we are pleased to see best practices are being shared. i think we are all in agreement here that ultimately we want a safe transportation of our
students to and from school. >> thank you. my time has expired. i yield back. >> thank you. >> i appreciate the witnesses giving us the opportunity to listen to your expertise. i come from a little bit different background. i was a school bus monitor many years ago. but i also had the privilege of serving my community in duluth, minnesota, as a police officer. one of the worst things we can do is respond to a crash of a student getting on or off the bus. it is unconscionable that we see drivers do this every single day in this country. it is uncalled for. i have been in a fully marked squad car, the second car behind a stopped school bus. the light is on, the gate is out right in front of me. it is unconscionable. cited to see it, i have
it. i have testified in court. for me, we are in this together. on the put our kids sidewalk with the corner, we expect them to arrive safe to and from school. we talkedrspective, about the greatest concern is the crossing of the roads. are we putting enough emphasis, in our drivers education classes in each of our states? because they are all a bit different. what does your state require for drivers education? what do they put for the subject? don't they specify this subject? >> i'm not a motor vehicle administrator so i cannot speak to exact requirements. we do have a rigorous process for getting a license. you're talking about -- talking about 16-year-old
drivers going through drivers education. is there anybody that thinks we could enhance our drivers education? if the majority of it is happening with drivers not paying attention and what have you, it seems the educational component and the seriousness of teaching young drivers. >> that is something with the stop at we have proposed about putting more education. i recently had this discussion with my teams about stopping in and around a school bus. i own a school bus company and am a driver, it was interesting to hear their perspective on what they did and did not know about stopping around a school bus. they are brand-new drivers. it was just plain scary. statesave to allow our to adopt real strict educational parts of stopping in and around school buses.
i am a cosponsor of the stopper school buses act. for me, one driver on a school bus is too much because the safety of our kids is paramount. ms. poland, you talk about the restraints and what have you. sayingfeel comfortable the restraints in a fire or water emergency for young kids, especially in rural areas where you will not get help right away, do you feel comfortable putting that mandate forth for the entire country? >> that is a good question. many people are asking that question. i can lend some experience we have had where we have looked at crashes, very severe crashes where the have been onboard camera systems, and we've studied the evacuation and seen the passengers that have maintained consciousness during the crash are able to self
evacuate. it is important for those students to be protected during the crash to give them the best chance to self evacuate. if they are unable to be protected during the crash, and of course, the injuries may negatively affect their ability to quickly and safely evacuate the school bus. >> thank you very much. to the witnesses, i appreciate we all want the kids in there safety -- and there safety. that is of the utmost importance. you are all experts in your respective fields. i appreciate this opportunity to listen to you. and together, we can increase the safety exponentially using some common sense measures. with that, i yield back, madame chairman. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, madame chairman. thank you, witnesses, your
expertise. appreciate you being here. thank you for being here with us today. each and every member of this committee cares deeply about the safety and security of our school aged children. we want to ensure when they do get on the school bus to go to and from school that they arrive safely at their destination. however, i also want to make sure our states and local communities are allowed the flexibility they need to implement proper regulations for their unique jurisdictions. how cant in mind, congress balance the need for improved school bus safety ed,hout imposing a heavy hand overregulated, one-size-fits-all approach for school districts? >> thank you for the question. the ntsb has made recommendations about vehicle design. we think it is import and for the minimum level of vehicle
design. we have investigated many crashes where oversight of drivers is a concern. we recommend -- recognize there are minimum levels at the federal level. much of the oversight happens at the state and local level. many of our recommendations have focused on the state and local level. with the minimum standards should be provided -- we think the minimum standards should be provided at the federal level. we think it is important local and state can meet those or exceed them. >> thank you. i have a niece that was involved in an accident in beaumont, texas, on a charter bus, not a school bus. it was a terrible accident with some fatalities. my niece was injured. i think they had implemented in the state of texas seatbelts because of that one accident. i did a follow-up on that question. could you talk about recent
statests you have seen take to increase the safety for students on school buses? you have already hit on it a little bit. if you want to elaborate further, i would appreciate it. >> yes, of course. we are very pleased to see so much movement on occupant protection. there are so many states looking at passenger lap shoulder belt for large school buses. we think this is a critical move. we are seeing a lot of motion in school bus manufacturers looking at technologies for preventing crashes and they are implementing these in some buses as standard equipment. we think that is critical for the crash avoidance aspect. there is a lot of movement. we are seeing a lot of sharing of best practices, including some of the aspects that don't necessarily address injuries and fatalities. with some of the aspects of driver retention and distractions that may be improved with some of the
technologies and installations we are talking about like lap shoulder belts. >> absolutely. i will yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. >> thank you, madame chairman. little good news on the subject. in northern california, the town of paradise had a tremendous -- horrendous fire almost a year ago. we have the story of a local school bus driver who during the fire crisis, without being told by anyone, decided to drive his school bus into town to the ponderosa elementary school in paradise when the camp fire hit town. his wife and family were already on their way to safety. in coordination with the school principal, he loaded students and teachers on the bus and took them to safety. at one point, he literally for
off his shirt -- tour off his shirt for the teacher to make breathing masks. thanks to him, all the kids escaped the camp fire without major injury. a really good piece. being california, as dangerous as wildfires are there and will be, school buses are under fire in another way. decided tonia board implement the installation of the diesel particulate filters, refitting existing buses with these devices. they can reach and exceed 600 degrees celsius when the engine is operating and have been prone for unburnedsh fuel that causes them to catch fire. these are not isolated cases. we have other vehicles that have been forced to be refitted with
these devices. just like freight trucks, school buses are vulnerable to these issues and have caught on fire. being california is the largest population, it also has the largest school bus fleet and largest number of students of any state. california usually has the most restrictive regulations on school buses. chp has to inspect each bus every year. the drivers review their vehicles every 45 days. these buses still catch on fire ilterse of the diesel f that was required was not suitable to be used. the technology had not caught up to the requirement on the buses. hundreds of thousands of vehicles were required to install them anyway, no matter the cost. ms. poland, the federal government does set a low bar for school buses and typically allows states to increase standards as they see fit.
are you aware of any intervention federal government has made when states are withgering students standards that are causing school buses to catch fire? >> our experiences with school bus fires are not related to the issue you are bringing up. some of the countermeasures we have recommended. >> you have not heard of any case of trucks or buses refitted with these filter systems catching fire? >> what we made public recently had a school bus fire. in that case, the engine compartment overheated because of -- caught fire because of overheating. >> that is one case. apart orhat was coming lost a bearing could be something that would happen. we are talking about the diesel particulate filters forced to be refitted to many buses and
trucks and equipment in california and maybe other states that have joined in that. is there any kind of protection from the federal government over a regulation causing fires by the fitting of this equipment? ntsb'se ntsb -- >> the position is on flammability of interior components. it would not address specifically the cause of the fire but may mitigate the consequences an increase the time for passengers to be evacuated. >> the epa is taking a look at how states sometimes go beyond to the harm of consumers and the safety of buses. would ntsb be looking at the possible harm in this case of fitting these devices on untested technology not made fully applicable in the
safety factor? would they look at these should not be fitted until they are more properly engineered? >> if there was a circumstance where that was the cause of a fire the ntsb is investigating, i am confident we would look into that and address countermeasures that may be able to mitigate consequences. >> may look at countermeasures. you have no statistics on how many many fires have been caused by the refitting of these vehicles with these filters? >> no, sir, we don't. >> have you heard of this happening, anecdotally yourself? >> as i mentioned earlier, that has not been the cause of any of our school bus fires or motorcoach fires. >> in general, trucks, buses that have had these filters refitted? >> not that specific issue. never heard of that? >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> thank you all for being here today.
i will say at the outset i am a proud sponsor of the stop school buses act of 2019. i am pleased this legislation includes a review of technology to enhance schoolbus safety. i want to congratulate you on last night's vote. is very important for teams for -- it is very important for teamsters. let's hope it passes. thelieve ms. poland said most recent study is that 95,000 buses pass school illegally a day. that is the most recent study. that is stunning to me. the stope things school buses act includes is a review of technologies to enhance schoolbus safety. i am exposed to some of these in different settings with law enforcement. i was a federal prosecutor for 20 years so i am aware of the emergent technologies.
let's talk about a few of them. i think there are some technologies that would pay for themselves. if you let me indulge for a second, for example, if there is something mounted outside the bus that can take a picture of these cars license plates as they are passing. if they are subsequently fined with 90,000 cars doing it a day, this quickly pay for themselves. i don't know if that is something you are contemplating. that is something that will get to the distracted driver. i think that is a big heart of it --part of it. is absolutely gets to the lack of respect for warning signs. i think we need to take the gloves off with these knuckleheads. showed 90 statistic some children were killed as pedestrians, not on the bus, in different accidents getting on and off the bus.
as you have noted, that is the most dangerous time. i would like to know what you think about my proposal. i know it has been used in other applications. there is technology that if a car goes by, you can tell right away whether the registration is expired or not and they can be sent a ticket. why can't we do something similar with buses? if we had this, i think it would pay for itself. i would like to hear from you and others. >> the ntsb has looked at some aspects revolving around schoolbus loading zone, including route selection, to minimize exposure in these circumstances. we have three investigations ongoing right now where we are exploring a variety of these technologies that can aid in the loading zone in preventing or mitigating injuries and fatalities. our investigators are looking at a friday of different aspects. i will open it up to partners at
the table because we are exploring there may be barriers at the state level for some of the interventions you are talking about. >> i know some of these technological innovations have gone into practice. it cannot go unnoticed that the distracted driver component is quite serious. it seems to be getting much worse. statistics had it in 60,000 something a day. now it is 90,000. that is a huge increase in a short time. it is an escalation of the distracted driver or the person that disregards it. i think it is time to take the gloves off. would you like to add anything? >> we can get you a state by state law breakdown. some states have enacted taking pictures. some states have made it more severe.
taking the gloves off is needed because it is not preventing them to do that. , we appreciate the support. we need more signage, more education for new drivers. obviously, distracted driving is a huge problem in trucking and school buses. that is when we see more accidents on the road. we have to make it a lot more severe. we have to do a better job making our presence known about stopping for school buses. >> i understand there are a lot of public components. it is an epidemic when you have that many cars a day disregarding or not seeing it. does anyone else want to add anything? >> we just enacted a bill to allow cities and towns to put stop arm cameras on their school buses. we believe this is a critical issue because it goes to enforcement. our state police believe increased fines don't solve the problem, but enforcement does. the cameras will allow the
prosecution of violators of the law. >> i guess that is what i'm talking about. not increasing the fines as much as saying every person that passes will get a picture and will get smacked. i yield back. >> thank you. ms. miller. >> thank you all for being here today. i am happy we can come here today to talk about solutions to address school bus safety. i am a mother and a grandmother. would like to say the safety of children should be our first priority with our kids dr. poland, do you know what percentage of school bus crashes large busfied as crashes? >> the majority of school buses on the roads are classified as large school buses. >> in charleston, west virginia,
one of our districts held a demonstration on a new lighting system that eliminates -- illu minates the path students take. it has been helpful. >> it has been a long-standing trend that more students are injured and killed in the loading zone been on the bus itself. we know school bus operation changes throughout the year. sometimes it is in low light conditions. there are a variety of countermeasures that our investigators are looking at. we look forward to bringing those recommendations to our board in the near future. >> is there anything congress can do to work on this issue? >> i think there are a variety of aspects.
certainly having the security is one of them. we have countermeasures that are arty and limited. we are looking to those successful cases when we are investigating these types of crashes. >> in 2010, i was in our state legislature, and a grandmother came to me. her six-year-old granddaughter had been run over getting off a school bus. she was saarbruecken. it took us quite a while to get legislation through to level the fines. it is been an ongoing thing to try to change the law. , we have developed
quite a strong relationship with his grandmother through it all. the little girl would have turned 16 now. it just breaks your heart. one of the biggest problems we have a school bus safety is the people who are ignoring the school bus at stop lights. toiana has taken measures address the placement of school buses on a u.s. route or a state route. not load oray unload a student in a location that requires the student to cross a roadway unless no other safe alternatives are available. have you seen other states take steps like this? >> can you repeat the question? >> the state of indiana has issued a law that you cannot load or unload a student at a location on a 55 mile per hour
highway unless there is no other alternative. >> i don't know any specific issues around routing. >> i know, and driving myself, when i see a school bus on the side of the road and it is two lanes over here and two lanes over here, and they are stopped, a lot of people just keep going. it is extremely difficult to get that child across the road. have there been any other best practices implemented to keep kids safe in loading and unloading zones, particularly in those unsafe areas? in the city of chicago, they do have certain areas where they
have chaperones or people in the neighborhood who will help out with that. in the state of california, a driver has to physically walk off the student with the bus with a sign and walked into that strike -- side of the street. successful with this and have a low frequency of accidents. >> they don't have a helper on the bus who would get off and do it? >> it is actually the driver. >> i yield back. >> thank you very much. thank you to the witnesses for your testimony today. i live in a large, rural district back in arkansas where bus transportation is a big issue. i have the opportunity to serve on a school poor with the first elected office that i held.
then in the state legislature, where we dealt with a lot of school related policy. impact of whathe we do with bus safety and transportation, it probably has a disproportional impact on rural schools because so much of their budgets go to transportation with the longer buses and the additional that they have that are not sometimes fully utilized. i think you have mentioned something about cost. when we are talking about school buses, safety outweighs cost. the cost has to be a consideration because schools just don't have the funding to go out and purchase all of the latest and greatest equipment that is there.
i know that there are some really great clean bus technologies out there. a lot of schools would like to put in cng buses. the cost of a new cng bus is equivalent to the cost of a new diesel bus. but you have to have a charging station that is a large capital investment for schools. they often cannot afford the upfront capital investment so take advantage of the low operating costs with the cng .uses this was years ago when i was working on these issues.
as far as compressed natural gas versus diesel or conventional gasoline buses, either it -- differences in the safety and ?rash tests or with air quality introduceds were years ago but never caught popularity because of the costs. you do have to make some modifications to your shop and yard due to the explosiveness of the gas. a big puff of black smoke anymore with school buses. we also run some propane guesses and two electric school buses on order.
there is technology out there. as far as the air quality inside the bus, and diesel emissions, funding outen some there that has got some older buses off the road. >> we would purchase a few buses every year and rotate new buses through the fleet. after a while, you get older buses that do not have the latest technology. >> there is probably a bus by bus feature. ist we talked about today stability control will be standard on all school buses. emergency braking.
if you can afford it, for the safety of the children and the newer bus, it would probably make a better practice to buy a newer bus. >> you are talking about the tremendous amount of passes of stop school buses. had do we educate the public more to know when there is a bus stop?that means that from practical experience. in the last couple of months, i was driving on a road in my district. two lanes of traffic each direction with a turning lane in the middle. 65 mile per hour speed limit. i saw a school bus slowing down to stop so i stopped i think i got past four times.
the kids were getting off on the other side. it was not necessarily any danger for those children who were getting off on the other side of the road. but people just ignored that stopped school bus. how do we educate the public? >> someone can answer but the time has expired. we are focusing on route selection. we are looking at countermeasures to try to
the report found that the driver hadhe baltimore school bus repeated license revocations and suspensions over several decades. it also uncovered instances in which the driver fraudulently obtained his license as well as numerous moving violations. in addition, the driver had medical conditions including a history of seizures that should have disqualified him from driving a school bus. ntsb recommended that the baltimore public schools perform an audit on the transportation department and then take corrective actions to improve internal controls. recommended that the maryland state department of education reviewed the state regulations to clarify andualifying conditions
require notification to the state department of education regarding all drivers who are determined to be not qualified to drive a school bus. ntsb also made several recommendations to the maryland -- motort vehicle vehicle administration. what is the status of the recommendations you made to baltimore city school system and to the state of maryland? >> those early and urgent recommendations have been updated. correspondence from baltimore schools about the performance audit. based on the correspondence and the actions, we have closed that with a acceptable action. was another recommendation to baltimore city schools that they take corrective action. that recommendation is still
open while they continue to do those corrective actions. that is in an acceptable status. -- unacceptable status. maryland has communicated with us that they are working on that recommendation and they are in the process of implementing it. reportmmings: the showed an accumulation of errors and a systemic absence of leadership over an extended. time.riod of failure of due diligence over the systems that were in place. if that's been taken to address and to implement
corrective measures that will insure that no more individuals are able to drive school buses with disqualifying conditions in maryland? maryland is currently working on implement thing that. to sharee were able that on a nationwide level, other states are looking at those recommendations and examining their own systems to ensure that, in other states, they are having appropriate reporting and that action is being taken at the local level to remove drivers who are unsafe for a variety of reasons. thank you mr. cummings. we appreciate your attending. other any further questions from members of the subcommittee? >> i would like to follow-up where i left off on the last questions. have you heard of anecdotes or instances of vehicles being refitted with filtration systems
catching fire because of them? whether this trucks, buses, farm equipment? >> our ongoing investigations and previous investigations to not deal with that specific cause. my background is biomechanical engineering. we have experts in fire safety. we would be happy to take your question back to them and see if some of our subject matter experts are more familiar with your questions. >> we hear a lot of talk about technology coming to save the day. but there is a human factor of those striving the bosses of people driving cars.
how do we tighten that up? he was talking about qualifications for bus drivers. do we have anything close to a 50 state standard on who is eligible? is there a 50 state standard or do all states -- we set in california, if it child is going to cross the road, there is a whole lot of difference the between letting kids off on the edges of the road and they go this way but if they are to be crossing the road, you have red lights, you should be stopping cars. but if the driver is also getting out, the adult who
should be trained and making sure there are no cars coming when they make that commitment to go across the road, do we have a 50 state standard on the driver getting out with a sign or something to prevent the kid from just running across? >> currently, i do not think there is a standard across 50 states. it is just in california. what i understand. is theeems like that sensible thing, because the driver is the adult. if you have statistics on when you talk about collisions with , are the vastrs majority of them on crossing the
are they happening on the safer side where they are getting out and going away from the road? i would think the vast majority would be on crossing the road. if we are enforcing on that better, then we can have a lot more success. maybe it is the driver getting out as a 50 state standard. people have been driving a while and have not taken the test in a while. i think we need to have an emphasis on the difference between a flashing yellow light on a bus and a flashing red light. moree are getting more and , there are some a holdups in traffic. if they don't take the bus seriously, people don't stop for a flashing yellow light, there is no kids present, once this traffic is stabilize, this is where more driver training should be in place.
driver rage is a big part of a lot of things. there needs to be that finesse of the yellow light to get things calmed down and then the red light when you're actually going to have students. that seems to be where the success is going to be. we hear a lot about technology saving the day. we need to have top-notch drivers. and our car drivers need to be a little bit more cognizant of yellowe difference light being ok and red light you have to stop. this is a multifaceted approach for school bus transportation safety, from the human performance of the bus striver and the drivers of the those last-minute
technological interventions that can prevent a crash to protecting the occupants when a crash does happen. i appreciate your comments. this is something we will consider as we move forward. >> could we get those stats? for the committee or for my ?ffice something like that would be very instructive. >> i appreciate those questions. perhaps you could get the statistics to the committee so put them in the record. that would be very important. questionsany further from members of the subcommittee? seeing none, i want to thank each of the witnesses today for helpful testimony. each and every one of you gave us, andinformation to
also homework for us. when i came into this hearing, before i heard your testimony, have an agenda. you have given me one now. i ask the unanimous consent that the record of today's hearing remain open until such time as the witnesses have provided answers to any questions that may be submitted to them in writing or that members have already asked. and unanimous consent that the record remain open for 15 days for any additional comments and by members submitted or witnesses to be included in the record of today's hearing. without objection, so ordered. if no other members have anything to add, the subcommittee stands adjourned. .hank you for attending
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