JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) – This month marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Nathan Key. The five-year-old was hit by a car that illegally passed a school bus while he was getting off. Since then, officials in Jones County have made it their mission to improve school bus safety.
“You could take a life. So, it is imperative that you stop when you are approaching the school bus, regardless whether the light is on or not. Maybe the light is about to come on, but always use caution going your school buses,” said Terry Graham with Jones County Schools.
State Fleet provided technology that was specifically made for the Jones County school buses. The devices record both directions of the road in HD, and it warns the driver and kids about a vehicle that’s about to make an illegal pass.
“To radars on the outside of the bus that continually sense once they start, an arm is deployed. It will start sensing the speed the direction and the acceleration of vehicles going in both directions and predict whether that vehicle is likely to stop or not stop,” explained the president of Safe Fleet, Michael Schulte.
For Lori McJohnson, it wasn’t until after losing her precious son, Nathan, that she notice there needed to be a major change in how school bus safety was handled.
“Prior to Nathan‘s Law, we were looking at the pedal if you pass to stop school bus. If you were actually seen, witnessed by law-enforcement, then you would be cited for that debt penalty,” said McJohnson.
Now with Nathan’s Law and this new technology, school bus drivers have a better chance to protect children and report those who violate the law to authorities.
The predictive safe stop technology is being use in other states across the country. School leaders in Jones County hope to fit every school bus with the technology sometime next year.