Legislation in New York would require the state’s pre-licensing course and test for driver applicants to cover the law on stopping for school buses. Photo courtesy NHTSA

Legislation in New York would require the state’s pre-licensing course and test for driver applicants to cover the law on stopping for school buses. Photo courtesy NHTSA

ALBANY, N.Y. — State legislators are considering a bill that would add a school bus safety component to driver’s education and testing.

The legislation would require at least one question about school bus safety to be included on the written test for general driver's license applicants. The topic would also have to be addressed in the state’s driver pre-licensing course.

Specifically, the course would be amended to include information about the law requiring vehicles to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.

“The purpose of the component is to educate prospective licensees on the dangers of passing a school bus in violation of [the law], to reduce the number of such incidents, and to promote school bus safety,” according to the text of the legislation.

S5974, sponsored by New York Sen. Elaine Phillips, unanimously passed the state Senate on March 5. The companion bill, A8565, is sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and has been referred to the Assembly’s transportation committee.

On Monday, the New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) called for the passage of the legislation.

“With recent estimates showing as many as 40,000 drivers in New York illegally passing a stopped school bus every day school is in session, it is clear that more needs to be done to help keep our children safe,” NYSBCA President Bree Allen said. “Additional education about the dangers of illegally passing a school bus is critical in reducing those numbers.”

The bill ties in with other measures that target illegal passing of school buses in New York, including Operation Safe Stop and a push to allow stop-arm cameras on school buses.

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