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Joint | April 28, 2015 | Chamber | Press Conference - Representative Ralph Johnson

Full MP3 Audio File

Good afternoon or good morning I want to thank each one of you for coming to very important issues that has affected many families,  the school stop well operating properly has disregarded some loaders, the situation now is that many children have been injured or killed while getting on and off of the bus their over 13000 school buses across the state, their are also 3000 school buses stock firms violets each day, that one out of ever four buses that experience a violation ladies and gentlemen that's unacceptable, that's unacceptable that we cannot protect our children any better than this. Two weeks ago a child was engine in Apex, by a motorist that run this stop on. In attemp to adress this issue, I filed House bill 49, which is a school bus safety bill. Working with Daily Gram and Department of public construction, I asked at a bar, for a long extension can be placed on a bus, which will come out to stop traffic where these school buses were picking up and unloading children. The extended stop arm will be the first in the country. Let me repeat that. The first in the country. For this piece of hardware, to be attached to the bus. What I'm going to do right now, I'm going to bring Derrick Graham and Robert Gyle up, prom BCBL sushis. Thank you representative Johnson, and from the perspective of The Department of Public Construction we have, we've got lot's of data over the past 10, 15 or so years that indicate that students are most at risk when they're getting on off the school bus. Once we have students on the bus, it's the safest environment possible for them to get to and from school. But this whole process of getting on and off the bus, when they are pontentially in a lane of traffic, puts them at a disadvantage if motorist cannot pay attention to stop signs. We've worked on a number of things, there are lots of education things that need to happen both on the part of students and school bus drivers, parents and especially motorists to make sure that everybody does what they're supposed to do to keep kids safe and school bus, we have make some changes over the years to the school bus the light on the bus are brighter than ever LED lights, splashing stroll light with one intent and that is to get the intention of the motorist, the call exception to the fact that there's a school bus stop and there might be students in the roadway, we are specifically interested in in the extended soccer as I call it is now and the who;e idea is to better of motoristas and so we're encouraged by the initial fidings of this pilot task and very appreciative of these guys that have brouth this products to this point where it my name is Brad Zeibun I'm with  solutions delighted to be here thisafternoon I'm here with my partners just a couple of comments solotons is the devloper of extension on the existing arm, so we actually encroach six feet in the imposing traffic and to build on Derrick's point and Representative Johnson's point the visibility is markedly improved. Importantly it also has shear pins, so if you're wondering what happens if someone were to run in to this, it's designed to break off at the extension. We're really delighted to partner with department in public, instruction, Derrick as well as Je Parris in Guilford county to let us these aren't 10 buses for 10 days and that test is run very beautifully. Results as in after 10 days are very, very encouraging. Excited, not only about what we're seeing and the

reduction of passes but even then it total the information from bus drivers and those that sort of live it each day, kind of excited about what they're seeing from the behaviour of motorist. The intent is to continue the pilot through the end of the year and so ultimately we've come to this point where for a very little cost, there's an opportunity to equip buses in North Carolina, with the bus crossing guard, very excited that perharps North Carolina would be the first state in the union, honestly that would put a stop to not stopping. And when in there, say thank you so much for having us. Spell your last name Brad, Zabel. OK, how much will it course, my first questions now guys What I want to do, I want to bring Jeff Harrison[sp?] Jeff is as we're conducting the study in Guilford County, and I want want him to say a few words. Thank you am joyed be here today because school bus safety and the safety of our children is our utmost concern, our bus drivers each day give accounting we for approximately 42, 000 students, and every term a school bus driver makes a passenger stop, that is significally the most dangerous aspect of any job, you are making a stop and I small child, either has to cross the road to get on the bus or even doesn't have to cross the road. We are saying, stop on violations from both sides of the vehicle. One point our drivers are making in terms of coursing God's time is increases the visibility, it puts the staff time out into the face of the murderers and say, hey, you need to stop, there is this child that could be crossing the road. So government counties is very privileged to be a part of the [xx] program, we will continue to operate the ten [xx] units on the vehicles remainder the school year, just to contain, the feed back from the drivers, but so far a very positive feedback from [xx] and from our parents, the parents are delighted to see that we are actually doing something that they can visualize, to put a to any death or injuries to children, thank you. One last statement, the main concern is  to this registration is to revenge child's death injuries, that's come out in this bill. And I wanted to get this word out to every individual, that I have children, or if you don't have children, to be weary of the stop signs on the buses because a bus saves some lives It's something in operator, it's obviously a cost with everything, how much is it doing to cost? Good question Well, we talked about that earlier. It's like a $1.50 for each citizen to cost the state that will be able to outfit each bus $1.50 is actually [xx] [xx] Yeah okay and I think, you know that's funny that you do ask ask that, because I've asked this question what price do you put on a child's life? And they're going ahead and give you all kinds of excuses why we cant afford to do this, but we still continue to have children injured, killed. we got to put a stop to it. We have to do something, we got to be proactive. They talk about cameras, that's dealing with the situation after the fact, we have to deal with this situation before an accident occurs. Until that happens, we're going to continue to have the same results, children getting hurt, children getting killed, we got to stop it. Please, speak to that the length of the arm or anybody can speak. It's six ft. What is it now? 18 inches. That's it? Yes, 18 inches this will make it six foot compared to 80 inches. That's right. And where is the bill stand right now? well, you know, we're trying to get it heard, you know it's funny, folks will give you every reason to say well we can't really afford it right now or there's an issue, this and that, but we have to do something. What are we doing right now? As I mentioned earlier, two weeks ago, there was a child that got hit by a car here in Apex, it's a on going situation, and we

should be looking to ways of trying to find the money to equip this buses just, this the same result is not working. One more question about the money because I think this will help our home, Okay If I may be more specifically, you sort about a dollar 50 extra per taxes, if somebody blows their room one of this stops that are now 18 inches because they didn't see it. How much is that ticket? I believe it's $500 and some points on your licence, right now.compared to a dollar 50 extra for something that well, I can said it again, this is preventive and I don't think that, that parent is concerned about seeing that child on camera and getting hit by a bus. That makes absolutely no sense and until we do something different, we're going to continue to have this accidents. Why isn't he doing nothing on it? Why isn't the city been brought all together? Well, that's a question, that's a good question. I can't answer that. All that I can answer to is the fact that I've taken the initiative to go talk to DPI and several others to do something about that. And I will recommend each viewer that's looking at this right now, to email your legislator, call, asking why we don't have any type of mechanism to save our children because they are still getting hit by cars. And I was just talking to the representative of Florida, he was telling me about our issue in Washington state. [xx] Let me share with you, I was watching the news of this morning and I saw where number one, the camera. And number two, [xx] that the school kid was getting ready to approach the bus, a vehicle came by and students have to step back and give the right away to the driver, which the driver should have stopped. In response to your question, if you recall track the trailers, when Carlos was running up on of the trailers, because there was a cost to dropping the real buffer if you want to call on the trailer down which prohibit the car maybe 24 inches, so when that the vehicles would not wind up on the [xx] the vehicle. If you also consider that most of our our highways are 10, 12 and 14 foot reins. These 6 foot were just about width 5th% of the average highway lane, and with the lights, it should up, that the driver if paying attention should see those rights. One of the things that education have to do in order, and they're required to have a safe environment, so when that the child can actually learn, but before that, they must get on to a bus, safely. In order for that safe environment to occur, in our community we have over 400 buses, so, we see that suggests those 400 buses are in Cortland County, Would have to make at least one stop. So, we can see the danger, and we're about 4th or 5th largest school system. So, when you look at it and response to the appropriation, as you know, all funds goes to the cops and all fines goes to the court, goes to education. So it's a way that that appropriation can be looked at and can be laid in appropriation. So, it's just a look of concern right now but we do belive if the concern of then by you and others, that can be addressed, and this six foot [xx] there's a problem that can be looked into your largest form of person assistant to see how would it have been, and so much this, but do it over a period of time. Maybe three to 5 years, [xx]. One more question if you don't mind, I know I said that my the last question, but I know that this is interesting it's got a two fold, one would be. Why are you not getting support from your fellow law makers? Or are you getting support? I don't know. It doesn't sound like you are and two, would you also like to see other school districts? As we mentioning they participate in a pilot program just to see how that works out.  Well let me ask you the first question, that is the question. Why aren't we getting more support? Because am sure that each school district has had

an incident where there is a passing a car passing a school bus, or something involving maybe an accident, so I don't understand I don't want to make this a partisan issue because it's not a partisan issue. It should be Republicans and Democrats, they're kids, at the end of the day me, and that's what matters to me, I want to say each and every challenge is as possible from getting involved in some type of accident, and we just have a prejudicial responsibility to the citizens of this state, to protect them. Why are we not taking a more aggressive approach about that, I really can't answer that. I have no idea because, it makes sense, when sometimes things that make sense to some, make no sense to others, so that's where we at right now. Please I'm Shelly Willingham, I'm from District 23, [xx] Edgecombe, in Martin County, and I'm also a former school board member and one of the things that I would say an answer to your question about why we're not getting the support that we think we should get, I think we'll have their support once we get, this bill has to go in committee, it has to come out so that we can vote on it. I don't think that if we get it out to a vote that it will not pass. But the big thing right now, is getting the bill hearing  committee, get it out of committee and get it on the floor. and I think with this kind of publicity or whatever, this is what we're trying to do, make sure that The leaders in the house and the Senate fear this and maybe react to this and maybe take the bill heard and get the bill to the floor. and I really believe that if it goes to the floor, it would be voted on and it would be passed and we would find the money to make it happen. Are there any other questions? I think [xx] Representative George Graham. My name is George Graham and I'm District 12 Ports-by, Renoir, Greene and Craven Counties, and I'm the representative and I'm very supportive of this programme down East we're beginning into farming as we're across the States. We have big vehicles on the highway, and fertilizers, and just sort of things that go along with horticulture, and to put our buses in that mix creating a safety hazard as well as some environmental issues. We feel that once this bill is out and on the table, that they will pay us, that it will support and help our children. Thank you. Okay. I want to thank you for coming, if there is any further questions, we'll be outside. Thank you.