SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In an effort to combat the widespread problem of illegal passing of school buses, a Syracuse City School District bus has been equipped with a mobile license plate reader.
Officials said that the reader, which is similar to what many police departments use, could prove effective in identifying and apprehending motorists who pass school buses that are loading or unloading children.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) announced the demonstration project in conjunction with April’s Operation Safe Stop, an annual effort to publicize and track the incidence of illegal passing. Past tallies have shown that motorists pass stopped school buses more than 50,000 times each day in New York state.
The Remington ELSAG mobile license plate reader is being subsidized by a grant from the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“This new camera will be an important tool in assuring parents in our district and other districts that their children are safer than ever riding yellow school buses,” said Daniel Lowengard, superintendent of Syracuse City School District. “We are hopeful that this will be a great success and can be replicated around the state.”
NYAPT is managing the demonstration project, which includes an assessment of the reader’s effectiveness, issuance of tickets to violators and public education efforts. Additionally, school bus drivers are being trained in capturing information that increases the likelihood of convictions of illegal passers.