LATHAM, N.Y. — Lawmakers here recently passed legislation that would allow stop-arm cameras on school buses.
S4524B (AB4950B), sponsored by Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy (D-Buffalo), would allow school districts to install stop-arm cameras on school buses as a way to record images of motorists who illegally pass stopped buses and help law enforcement issue tickets to the offenders.
Under the bill, school districts and local municipalities would submit an annual report to law enforcement detailing the number of buses that have stop-arm cameras to help track locations where these incidents occur most frequently. The ticket fines, which the bill raises from $250 to $275 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense within an 18-month period, would be applied to the installation of the stop-arm cameras and GPS units placed on the buses, so school districts wouldn’t have to pay for them.
Additionally, the bill would require local municipalities to install signage along school bus routes reminding motorists that the stop-arm cameras are in use.
S4524B, which was passed by the Senate on May 15, is currently awaiting action by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
David Christopher, the executive director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT), told School Bus Fleet that if the bill becomes law, it will help many school bus operations across the state avoid the dangers of illegal school bus passings.
“Our informal surveys indicate that there are at least 50,000 illegal passings every school day in New York State alone,” Christopher said. “This is unacceptable and presents a serious danger to our children as they board and disembark our buses. We hope the stop-arm camera law will decrease the incidences of illegal passing of stopped school buses.”
Many other efforts across the state have been established to combat the issue, some showing positive results, such as Operation Safe Stop.
As SBF previously reported, the NYAPT and the New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) recently partnered with law enforcement to bring the motoring public’s attention to the dangers of illegally passing stopped school buses by holding Operation Safe Stop events statewide.
Members of both associations, as well as local and state law enforcement and community leaders, participated in public education efforts for the campaign, including a press conference to highlight school bus passing incidences.