Operation Safe Stop

An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass New York State school buses every day.


What is Operation Safe Stop?

Operation Safe Stop seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. Operation Safe Stop is a cooperative project supported by the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, the New York State Education Department, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, the New York State School Bus Contractors Association, the student transportation industry and state, county, city and local law enforcement agencies.


Operation Safe Stop Education and Enforcement Day is Thursday, April 25, 2024

On April 25, 2024 law enforcement officers around the state will participate in Operation Safe Stop Day.  During "Safe Stop," police officers are on board school buses and in marked and unmarked patrol units on selected bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints.

Police issue tickets to drivers who pass stopped school buses. All violations were reported to a central command post so that final figures are available to state and local officials as well as the media.

Members of the media are invited to ride along and cover Operation Safe Stop in their areas.

The Law and Penalties

The Law Says

  • It is illegal - and very dangerous - to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students.
  • You must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.
  • You must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.
  • The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 to $400 fine, 5 points on your license, and/or possibly 30 days in jail.
  • Worse yet, the memory of hitting or killing a child may be one you carry for the rest of your life!


Penalties for passing a stopped school bus

By ConvictionMinimum FineMaximum FinePossible Imprisonment
First Conviction$250.00$400.00Up to 30 days
Second Conviction (within 3 years)$600.00$750.00Up to 180 days
Third or Subsequent Convictions (within 3 years)$750.00$1,000.00Up to 180 days


Yellow lights mean the bus is going to stop. Slow down!

Red lights mean students are getting on or off the bus.


The goal of Operation Safe Stop is to proactively educate motorists about the dangers of passing stopped school buses.