'Hero' school bus driver commended by Brindisi for saving student

May 17, 2019

A Norwich City School District bus driver is being called a hero for saving a student from a car last week that illegally passed the bus. The district released a video of the incident, which went viral and was shared around the world. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) honored the bus driver and is pushing legislation to improve school bus safety.

The video shows Samantha Call, the bus driver, grab the back of a student who was exiting the bus, just as a car passed along the right-hand side.

“It’s our worst nightmare to see a student be that close to danger as my student was that day,” Call said.

Since the video was released, Call said she has received a lot of praise from her community and places around the world like Germany, Australia, and Haiti.

“It’s just insane how far that video has gotten, and how much support bus drivers really have,” Call said.

But she also continues to see cars illegally pass her bus on a daily basis. Rep. Anthony Brindisi is a cosponsor of legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to evaluate current safety measures and the effectiveness of technology, like stop-arm cameras, in preventing illegal passings.

“It’s really looking at a comprehensive review first, and then moving from there in terms of how do we help some of the states implement these best practices,” Brindisi said.

The New York State Legislature recently passed measures to put stop-arm cameras on school buses.

"If states are moving in the direction of trying to keep their students safe, then the federal government should incentivize those states, to try to cut down on any deaths related to passing a school bus," Brindisi said. 

It’s estimated that 50,000 cars pass a stopped school bus every day in New York State.