UniteGPS – After recent testimony from safety advocates, Colorado lawmakers have postponed voting on Bill SB22-085 designed to revolutionize how school districts protect the most precious cargo: children. Democratic leaders by Sen. Don Coram drafted the legislation in January in hopes of introducing a new standardized model for school bus safety that other states could replicate.
Known as Colorado Safe Student Protection Program, this is the most comprehensive student safety bill that the country has ever seen, according to Sen. Coram. Grants will be comprehensive, permitting school districts to use funds on driver recruitment, safety training, not to mention new parent involvement technology. That’s to say, a mobile application capable of sending parental notifications about students.
Police detective Dan Sperry from Idaho provided testimony in Colorado in support of the bill, saying that this bill could save lives based on his own experiences. The bus safety advocate lost his daughter Makayla to an illegal passing incident when an oncoming vehicle struck her upon exiting the bus, dying five days before Christmas.
School bus safety in Colorado
Safety advocates claim that there are three accidents every day just in Colorado alone with over 375,000 daily student riders. Although the state has invested millions in school safety, bus safety measures have never been taken until now.
Going above just stop-arm cameras, the bill will also provide funds for school districts to recruit and train bus drivers. Other support areas include new technology to monitor driving and communicate with first responders, as well as the app to enable parents to track their children’s live location.
Lawmakers collaborated with the Children’s Safety Network to draft the bill as well as plan a public awareness campaign across Colorado if it becomes law. Certain lawmakers worry about the price of the bill, costing $13.5 million over the next three years. However, bill advocates say that corporate sponsors will provide funding when state funds end.