As the president of the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association, I commend The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board for calling attention to the need to crack down on motorists illegally passing school buses (“Md. school bus safety — still not a passing grade,” November 26). Not only is it illegal, it is incredibly dangerous and puts at risk the lives of the precious cargo we as school bus operators transport daily. As you correctly state, the solution to this alarming problem incorporates effective technology, stringent penalties and driver education.
That being said, I take issue not only with the irresponsible title of your opinion piece but the insinuation within that school bus contractors somehow bear part of the blame for the lack of driver’s side cameras on Maryland school buses outside of Montgomery County. Maryland regulations governing its school buses are among the most stringent and comprehensive in the country and go well above and beyond those in place in the vast majority of other states thanks to the hard work of the School Vehicle Advisory Committee to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, of which I am a proud member.
Furthermore, your suggestion that perhaps the fact that most Maryland counties contract in whole or in part with private school bus contractor companies is partially to blame for the lack of necessary equipment on buses is entirely without merit. As contractors, we are required to adhere to the exact same vehicle specifications and inspection schedules as county-owned buses. Maryland contractors fully support the use of cameras to document and ticket drivers who illegally pass school buses and in no way present an obstacle to their installation.
Thank you for allowing me to correct these inaccuracies.
Robert Edwards, Forest Hill