Va. School Buses to be Equipped with Extended 'Stop' Sign Arms and Cameras
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - School buses in Virginia are being equipped with lifesaving technology and it is in no small part because one Albemarle County school bus driver had enough. Karen Chisholm was tired of seeing drivers zoom past her bus when she was stopped, so she decided to get involved.
Chisholm has been driving for Albemarle County schools for 30 years and has seen many drivers almost hit children. She knew something had to be done.
"Too many to remember. I just remember when they do it, it stays with you all day long because you wonder if they hadn't stopped, would the child have stepped out,” said Chisholm.
So she and more than 100 other bus drivers put their foot down.
"I wrote a letter and passed it around to all of my co-workers. If they wanted to sign it that was great, but it was all of their support behind that letter that I think got it noticed,” said Chisholm.
Chisholm wrote to Delegate Rob Bell asking for his help too.
"I knew he was a parent and I knew he had two children that road the Albemarle County buses so I was hoping as he read it he would feel what I felt,” said Chisholm.
Bell said he has seen thousands of bills die, but this one could not be ignored. "I think once the issue was fully explained to people and the problems they were having then I think there was momentum to get it passed. I mean my two kids take the school bus every day."
The new law allows for extended 'stop' arms and bus cameras, both, which had only been tested before.
"Once the state passes it then the county has to do certain things to make it work for the county. Then they have to actually install the equipment on the buses,” said Bell
Chisholm may be the activist behind the law but she does not want any recognition.
"We were just grateful and if it saves our children and keeps them safe, that's the most important thing,” said Chisholm.
The law passed the Virginia House and Senate unanimously and was signed by the governor. It may take some time for the safety measures to show up on most buses.