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Governor authorizes stop-arm cameras on school buses

Posted 6 August 2019 at 3:31 pm

Cameras will record illegal passing of buses

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.4524B/A.4950B) authorizing school districts to install stop-arm cameras on school buses in order to catch drivers who unlawfully pass a stopped school bus and ensure the safety of New York’s students. This measure was a key component of Governor Cuomo’s Justice Agenda.

“No parent should ever have to worry that their child’s bus ride to and from school is anything other than safe and easy,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing this measure into law, we are providing school districts the tools they need to hold reckless drivers accountable and advancing New York State’s bold initiatives to keep our schoolchildren safe.”

In New York State, approximately 1.5 million students ride school buses to and from school every year, and out of concern for their safety, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus.

However, Operation Safe Stop in April 2018, the one-day in which law enforcement targeted offenders passing a stopped school bus, exposed that hundreds of people ignore this law and over 850 people were ticketed. This amounts to someone passing a stopped school bus over 150,000 times in a 180-day school year, endangering the safety of schoolchildren in every corner of this state. The legislation will hold drivers accountable and continues the Governor’s history of leadership in student safety by ensuring that students are safe on their way to and from school.

Governor Cuomo recognizes that the safety of our children is our highest priority. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to reinstate the speed camera program in New York City and expand the number of authorized school speed zones from 140 to 750. The bill also expanded the hours of the program to weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Additionally, in 2016 Governor Cuomo modernized the New York’s school safety laws to increase student safety. The updated laws required school districts to designate a point of contact in case of emergency, increase training requirements for faculty and staff and update safety drills to include a lock down event.

CSEA, representing thousands of school bus drivers and monitors across the state, applauded the signing of legislation allowing the use of cameras on school buses. This legislation will capture vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses and provide for increased penalties for violators.

CSEA President Danny Donohue said, “We hear from our school bus drivers every day about drivers who illegally pass their stopped buses, putting the children they drive at risk. Our bus drivers and monitors are constantly on the watch to protect them, but we can never be too safe. We applaud the Governor for signing this bill, which will give law enforcement a great tool to prosecute people who put our school children at risk.”

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement: “This law marks a significant step forward for student safety. With an estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally passing school buses every day across New York, bus drivers are constantly on the lookout for these reckless motorists while also keeping an eye on the children in their care. It is our sincere hope that school districts will work quickly to begin installing stop-arm cameras so we can better hold accountable those who show blatant disregard for our kids. We thank the governor and Legislature for putting our children first with this important legislation.”

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