State Police will step up patrols as new school year begins
Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State Police are stepping up patrols to crack down on dangerous drivers as students return to school.
The Governor urged motorists to watch for students as they walk or bike to school, follow posted speed limits, and stop and wait whenever a school bus is stopped with its red lights flashing and its “stop” sign extended. This is the latest step in a series of safety measures the Governor has recently taken to get the school year off to a safe start.
“I urge every driver to take extra precautions now that school is back in session and students are returning to class,” Governor Cuomo said. “The safety of New York’s children is our top priority, and these precautions will keep students safe from harm, prevent traffic violations and hold reckless motorists accountable.”
In addition to stepping up enforcement efforts, the State Police will also be partnering with AAA for their “School’s Open – Drive Carefully” campaign. State Police will be displaying AAA’s “School’s Open” bumper stickers on all marked patrol cars. The purpose of the initiative is to raise driver awareness about pedestrian safety and to remind motorists to slow down and stop for school buses when their red lights are flashing.
Last month, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order to protect more than one million New York City school children from speeding vehicles. The Governor’s action paved the way for the City to reinstate its school zone speed camera program. Studies have shown that after installing the cameras in 2014, 10 fewer children have been killed by motor vehicles each year – from 18 to 8.
Earlier in August, Governor Cuomo signed a bill strengthening the state’s requirements for random drug and alcohol testing for all school bus drivers. The law also prohibits bus drivers from drinking alcohol at least eight hours prior to their shift, an increase from the previous six-hour limit.
Additionally, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee along with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation and State Police joined the Governor in urging caution as the school year begins. In April, more than 850 drivers statewide were ticketed for illegally passing stopped school buses during “Operation Safe Stop,” a one-day enforcement effort. State Police and local law enforcement also issued 3,044 tickets for other traffic violations and made 89 arrests for offenses including drunk driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
“State Police will be vigilant in keeping our roadways safe as our children head back to school,” said State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II. “Drivers can do their part by obeying the posted speed limits in school zones, stopping when they see the flashing red lights of a school bus, and being mindful of children who are walking to school. I encourage all motorists to make safety a top priority by remaining alert and focused when they are traveling through neighborhoods and school zones during the school year and beyond.”