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Northampton, Mass., Tries To Crack Down On School Bus Scofflaws

A public service announcement in Northampton, Mass., urges drivers not to pass stopped school buses.
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A public service announcement in Northampton, Mass., urges drivers not to pass stopped school buses.

A western Massachusetts town is going all out to support state legislation that would identify drivers who fail to stop for school buses.

Community members worked with the Northampton police department on a public service announcement, in which children pretend to be drivers giving excuses to an officer for going around a stopped school bus.

Northampton City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra, who helped write the screenplay, is pushing for state legislation that would allow cameras on school buses to identify illegally passing cars.

The cameras are allowed in at least 15 states, including Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"It's really just capturing the license plate of the car," Sciarra said. "And you will only capture that license plate if they have broken the law and gone around a stopped school bus."

Sciarra said this effort started after a student was swiped -- but not badly hurt -- by a passing car while getting off the bus.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Gina-Louise Sciarra's name.

Karen is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998. Her features and documentaries have won a number of national awards, including the National Edward R. Murrow Award, Public Radio News Directors, Inc. (PRNDI) Award, Third Coast Audio Festival Award, and the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize.
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