Illegal Passing: Real–Life Successes

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Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Police Department


The Pittsburgh program was developed from the impetus of Pennsylvania Operation Safe Stop to get stronger involvement from law enforcement in reducing stop–arm violations.

The partners in this program include:

• Pittsburgh Police Department

• Local media

• City transit department and city public works department

• School bus contractors

• City magistrates

An initial grant funded some activities that had to be discontinued due to lack of funds. In the initial grant, during a two–week media blitz period, there were billboards, posters, and banners placed on city buses. Banners were also placed on the front of the police department building, which is located on a downtown street. The artwork showed police officers next to school buses with red lights flashing saying “Protect Our Kids. Stop for the School Bus.” The goal was to show that school buses are being passed illegally and that police officers care about the safety of school kids.

There continue to be both periodic and ongoing activities.

Periodic Activities

At the beginning of the school year, a media blitz about the problem of illegal passing is done through local media contacts (print, radio, television -both network and local cable). A major problem area for stop-arm violations is on the streets just outside the city schools. From time to time, a television reporter with camera accompanies a police officer parked in an unmarked vehicle outside the school to document the violations and use the footage to remind the public of this safety problem.

Ongoing Activities

Throughout the year, the police department patrols hot spots of illegal passing identified by school bus drivers. In unmarked vehicles, public works vehicles, and motorcycles, officers patrol problem intersections and follow school buses on problem routes. Officers don't give warnings; they only write citations.


Best Practices Guide: Reducing the Illegal Passing of School Buses