ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) is calling on the state Legislature to authorize stop-arm cameras to enforce state law, which prohibits motorists from passing stopped school buses.
As presented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the 2018-19 executive budget proposal (A9506/S7506 at Part C) provides for this authorization, and for the collection of fines based on images collected by stop-arm cameras. Additionally, as SBF previously reported, Cuomo said in January that this year he will work to increase the state's fines for stop-arm running in an effort to enhance student safety.
NYAPT has urged senators and assembly members to support inclusion of the stop-arm cameras when they adopt a final state budget. SBF previously reported that bills S518/A321 would allow images collected on stop-arm cameras to be used in issuing summonses to motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses. These bills are currently under review by the transportation committee.
The NYAPT submitted a letter to all members of the Legislature, which is published below:
“Every day in our state, motorists illegally pass stopped school buses which have their red lights flashing some 50,000 times. Each time this occurs, those motorists are placing the children riding our school buses (some 2.3 million) at risk of injury or even death.
"Yet enforcement of the law (Section 1174 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law) remains limited. The reality is that police officers cannot follow every school bus and our school bus drivers cannot document instances of illegal passing while they are driving our children.
"The technology has arrived — and is in use in some 16 states in the nation — that utilizes stop-arm cameras affixed to the exterior of the school bus to identify those motorists in the absence of a police officer and without distracting school bus drivers. Images from those cameras are then used by local police departments to issue summons to the owners of those vehicles.
"Now is time for New York state to enact a law that allows us to bring that successful technology to New York to protect our children. Our children are, after all, the point of all we do in school bus safety.
"We have worked proudly with Sen. Catharine Young and Assemblyman William Magnarelli in recent years to enact legislation that would achieve this objective and we thank them and their co-sponsors for their leadership and support.
The proposal in the executive budget allows for stop-arm cameras to be installed and deployed for safety. We urge inclusion of those provisions in your respective one-house budget bills and in the final budget you ultimately adopt.”