Community, Crime, Education, Public Safety, Transportation

State Senate Working to Improve School Bus Safety

NY State Senate Working to Improve School Bus Safety.

By Alison Caliguire SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – On average, 50,000 cars illegally pass a stopped school bus every month in New York, according to a study done by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT).

That’s more than one per minute.

“Daily, I see people run my reds,” said Etienne, a local bus driver.

Etienne says it’s hard for him when cars illegally pass his stopped bus. He has to watch out for the kids, the cars in front of him, and try to take down the license plate of the passing car.

That’s why state Senator Catharine Young (R) introduced legislation to allow school districts to install cameras on the stop sign arms of school buses.

“If there were cameras up, that’d make it excellent,” Etienne said. The cameras would “do half the job for us.”

Dinisha, a mother of six, says when she lived on the south side of Syracuse, she saw firsthand the consequences of passing a stopped school bus.

“A¬†little boy got hit crossing the street,” Dinisha said. The driver “didn’t see it coming, but those are the consequences.”

If a school district chooses to participate in the program, the camera will be motion activated and take a picture of the license plate of the illegally passing vehicle.

That photo will be sent to the local police department, and the offender will then be hit with a $250 fine.

A portion of those fines would go back to the school district to help pay for the program.

According to Executive Director of NYAPT Peter Mannella, cities such as Baltimore and Dallas have implemented programs like this one to great success, cutting the rate of illegal passes down by as much as 50 percent.

Senator Young’s staff expect the legislation to be on the floor of the Senate by the end of this legislative session.