ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) has released the results of a demonstration project it launched in April to record the number of motorists illegally passing school buses.
Buses in three districts were equipped with cameras to record license plate numbers of vehicles that passed stopped school buses illegally. The program, which was intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of the cameras in identifying and apprehending motorists, was supported by a grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and National Highway Traffic Safety Committee.
NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella reported to state Motor Vehicles Commissioner David Swarts the number of illegal passes recorded over a span of 40 school days. The Bethlehem Central School District bus recorded 20 illegal passes, the Canandaigua City School District bus saw 22, and the Brewster Central School District bus camera captured four illegal passes.
Mannella also reported that the camera recorded 68 illegal passes, or 1.66 passes per day, over 41 school days during the spring of 2008 in the more urban Syracuse City School District.
Section 1174 of the State's Vehicle and Traffic law requires all vehicles to stop for a school bus that is stopped and has its red flashing lights engaged, indicating passenger loading or unloading. Violators face penalties that include fines, points on one's license and possible time in jail.
The camera technology used in the demonstration project is an MPH-900 Advanced License Plate Reader manufactured by ELSAG North America. It is currently in use by numerous police agencies across New York state to aid in law enforcement activities.
For more information on the program, Mannella can be reached at (518) 463-4937 or [email protected].