Safety

New York Contractors Call on Drivers to Stop for School Buses

Posted on April 27, 2017
Mike Martucci, president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association, speaks about the dangers of illegal school bus passing at an Operation Safe Stop event.
Mike Martucci, president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association, speaks about the dangers of illegal school bus passing at an Operation Safe Stop event.

LATHAM, N.Y. — The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) hosted an Operation Safe Stop event here on Thursday to promote the importance of stopping for school buses that are loading or unloading students.

“Every day school is in session, our school bus drivers see drivers putting children in danger by illegally passing stopped school buses,” NYSBCA President Mike Martucci said. “A single incident is one too many, and drivers need to realize that they must stop when they see those red lights flashing on a school bus.”

NYSBCA’s Operation Safe Stop Day event was held at Marlboro Elementary School with a variety of local, county, and state officials.

The association also used the occasion to again call for the passage of legislation to increase the penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus. Currently, drivers convicted of a first offense face up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $250 to $400, and a five-point penalty on their license. According to NYSBCA, the current penalties do not go far enough to act as a deterrent.

Sen. Rich Funke’s bill (S.1023) would increase the range of fines for illegally passing a stopped school bus to a minimum of $400 and a maximum of $1,500, depending on the number of convictions. The legislation would also require an aggravated vehicular assault charge for a driver who injures someone while passing a school bus. If a person is killed in the incident, the legislation would require a charge of criminally negligent homicide.

“School bus drivers work hard every day to protect the students they transport, and it’s on all of us to ensure that our kids are every bit as safe when entering or exiting a bus,” Funke said. “Operation Safe Stop is an important tool to remind drivers that the law is clear: When you see a school bus’s red flashing lights, you must stop, no matter where on the road the bus is.”

Senator John Bonacic’s bill (S.1064) calls for the additional penalty of a 60-day license suspension for a driver who is convicted of illegally passing a stopped school bus two or more times within a 10-year period.

“Increasing penalties on those who would put our school children in harm’s way by speeding past a stopped school bus is a no-brainer,” Bonacic said. “I will continue to work with the advocates and my colleagues in the Legislature to get this bill passed.”

Funke’s and Bonacic’s bills have been advanced by the New York State Senate in the past, but they have failed to move in the Assembly.

Paul Daniels, president of the New York State Bus Distributors Association, also voiced support for the stop-arm legislation and for Operation Safe Stop.

"We proudly support Operation Safe Stop and call on New York drivers to be more aware of the importance of stopping when they see the red lights flashing on a school bus,” Daniels said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the state Legislature to increase penalties on those who illegally pass a school bus.”

Related Topics: danger zone, law enforcement, New York, stop-arm running/illegal passing

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Posts on the many tasks involved in being a school bus driver and a petition to make stop-arm running against federal law with steeper penalties drew the most attention on SBF’s blog and social media. File photo courtesy JD Hardin
News

Most Popular Blog, Facebook Posts of 2018

Posts on the many tasks involved in being a school bus driver and a petition to make stop-arm running against federal law with steeper penalties drew the most attention on SBF’s blog and social media.

Carpinteria (Calif.) Unified School District school bus drivers transported critical personnel during deadly mudslides in January 2018. Shown here is driver Jose Ochoa.
News

Editor’s Picks 2018: Photo Galleries of the Year

School Bus Fleet’s standout web content this year included shots of past and present state directors and California school bus drivers transporting school staff after mudslides struck their area.

A video about the career of special-needs school bus driver Karen Sweet was one of the standout videos posted on SBF's website in 2018.
News

Editor's Picks 2018: Videos of the Year

A career spotlight on one special-needs school bus driver and second graders teaching school bus safety were a couple of School Bus Fleet’s web highlights in 2018.

A story about a motorist who was arrested for allegedly failing to stop for a school bus was the most-viewed news item on the SBF website this year. The screenshot above is from bus video posted on Missouri’s Parkway School District’s Facebook page.
News

Top 5 Most-Viewed News Stories of 2018

News that drew the most traffic on the School Bus Fleet website this year covered illegal school bus passing, a petition for tougher penalties on stop-arm running, and student and driver fatalities in the danger zone.

An article about how to keep school buses and sites secure was the most-viewed feature on the SBF website this year. Photo courtesy National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
News

Top 5 Most-Viewed Feature Articles of 2018

Feature articles that drew the most traffic on the School Bus Fleet website in 2018 included tips on school bus safety, electric school buses, and student behavior management.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!