LATHAM, N.Y. — The New York School Bus Contractors Association recently joined the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) in supporting Operation Safe Stop, an annual event promoting school bus safety education and enforcement in New York state.
Officials said the New York School Bus Contractors Association used the occasion to publicly support legislation sponsored by New York state Sen. John Bonacic that would increase the penalties for motorists who pass a stopped school bus.
“The New York School Bus Contractors Association proudly took part in this year’s annual Operation Safe Stop,” said Robert Pape, the newly elected president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association. Every day school bus drivers around the state witness drivers threatening the safety of our children by illegally passing a stopped school bus. Now is the time to increase the penalties for drivers who put our children at risk.”
Current law provides that an individual who is convicted two or more times of speeding in a construction zone be subject to a 60-day suspension of his or her driver’s license, but current law does not provide the same penalty for passing a stopped school bus two or more times.
Bonacic’s bill calls for the additional penalty of a 60-day suspension of a person’s driver’s license when that person is convicted of illegally passing a stopped school bus two or more times within a 10-year period.
The bill was recently approved by the New York State Senate and is currently in the New York State Assembly Transportation Committee.
“We are pleased to throw our support behind the outstanding efforts of Senator Bonacic and NYAPT in calling for the passage of this bill, and we are hopeful that it will pass the Assembly before the close of this year’s legislative session,” Pape said. “Providing a safe ride to school and back home for over a million children every day is the single most important thing we do as school bus contractors. Increasing the penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses will help us continue to provide the safest pupil transportation services in the country.”
Operation Safe Stop brings together the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, New York State Education Department, NYAPT, the New York School Bus Contractors Association, law enforcement, and other school bus industry professionals in an education and enforcement campaign targeting drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
This year’s Operation Safe Stop Day event was hosted by NYAPT and held in Latham.