As the current school year is underway, the Mississippi Highway Patrol has begun its annual school travel safety campaign titled Operation S.T.O.P. (Safe Transport of Pupils).
The initiative is in place to remind motorists to take extra precautions in school zones, around school buses, and while traveling or transporting their students to and from school.
“Protecting our students is protecting our future,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell stated. “We want students, parents, teachers, and staff across our state to arrive at school and back home safely. The Mississippi Highway Patrol will continue its mission to enforce highway safety laws and enhance safety across our state.”
In 2022, Mississippi reported 280 crashes state-wide involving school buses, with 55 injuries and one fatality. 268 total crashes have been reported thus far in 2023, with 59 injuries and one fatality.
Nathan’s Law, which was enacted in 2011, states that a vehicle must stop 10 feet from a school bus loading or unloading children and stiffened penalties for passing a school bus that is stopped.
“The Mississippi Highway Patrol is committed to protecting our students across the state,” MHP Colonel Randy Ginn said. “Today’s students are the future leaders of tomorrow, and it is in our best interests to protect them as they travel to and from school.”
Operation S.T.O.P. will place troopers in school zones to observe traffic and bus stops and place them in possible problem areas to monitor these certain conditions along with the usage of seatbelts for those who are transporting students to and from school.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Public Affairs officers will use social media to help spread awareness about this campaign, which will be a priority throughout the school year.
In 2022, Mississippi lost 62 teenagers to automobile crashes. Operation S.T.O.P. is a safety campaign that will serve to bring awareness to this issue to help reduce those numbers, as most teen drivers spend a lot of time commuting to and from school throughout the year.