The safest way to transport children to and from school is by school bus. In fact, students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA).
However, while buses are loading and unloading students, kids become vulnerable to injury. This is largely due to an increasingly high incidence of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses. According to the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT), it is estimated that 50,000 motorists pass stopped school buses with red lights flashing statewide each school day.
Operation Safe Stop is an education and enforcement program to create awareness about the dangers of passing stopped school buses. During the May 2, 2019 crackdown, 702 police officers from 75 law enforcement agencies issued 646 tickets for passing stopped school buses; and 1,991 tickets for other moving violations.
Effective August 19, 2019, school districts and municipalities are authorized to use stop-arm cameras on school buses. In NYS the first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is $250 - $400, 5 points on your license, and/or up to 30 days in jail. Repeat offenders can face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail.
Every October, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, along with state and local safety partners, participate in National School Bus Safety Week. The goal is to engage parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety.
Aubrey L. Feldman, MPH, CPH, CHES®, CPST
Child Passenger Safety Program Coordinator
Highway Safety Program Analyst II
Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza, Room 410B
Albany, NY 12228