Assembly hardens law to nail drivers who drive pass a stopped school bus

A school bus waits for students at a town school on February 6, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
A school bus waits for students at a town school on February 6, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

ALBANY – The New York State Assembly has passed legislation this week to prevent motorists from passing school buses that are picking up or dropping off children Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace announced.

Under current law, a ticket for illegally passing a stopped school bus displaying a red visual signal can be issued only by a police officer who witnesses the violation. This bill provides for additional enforcement options by allowing mobile cameras mounted on school buses, as well as stationary cameras, to capture motorists illegally passing stopped buses, which could then be used by local governments to impose liability on the owners of the motor vehicles.

“Although it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing, too many people have ignored that mandate, which has resulted in tragic consequences. There is simply no excuse for putting children’s lives at risk simply to arrive at your destination a few minutes sooner,” said Ms. Wallace.

She says an estimated 50,000 vehicles illegally pass stopped school buses every day in New York.  The legislation’s aim is to significantly reduce that number as more drivers learn that the risk of injuring or killing a child is not worth the few seconds they’re trying to save on their commute.

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