ALBANY, N.Y. — State lawmakers are reviewing four bills that aim to prevent illegal bus passing by boosting public education, allowing stop-arm cameras as a way to help identify violators, and making fines and penalties tougher.
• S518/Young-A321/Magnarelli would allow images collected on stop-arm cameras to be used in issuing summonses to motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses. It would also authorize school districts to receive state aid to buy stop-arm cameras.
• S1023/Funke-A1207/Zebrowski would increase the fines for convictions related to illegal passing of stopped school buses and create crimes of aggravated vehicular assault and criminally negligent homicide for injuries or deaths resulting from illegal passing.
• S1064/Bonacic-A719/Jaffee would provide for a 60-day license suspension for motorists convicted two or more times in a 10-year period of illegally passing a stopped school bus.
• A172/Gantt-S3276/Parker would create a dedicated fund from fines collected from convictions of illegal passing to support education related to school bus safety and the dangers of illegal passing.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) released a statement on Wednesday supporting passage of the bills.
“NYAPT supports these bills and strongly urges the Legislature to pass them and the Governor to sign them into law during the closing weeks of this 2017 legislative session," the association said. "In particular, we applaud the sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills and thank them for their concern and their leadership in advancing sound legislation.”
Recent monthly stop-arm violation survey estimates from NYAPT have shown that more than 40,000 motorists pass stopped school buses in one day.
NYAPT’s statement comes on the heels of Operation Safe Stop Day, an annual statewide stop-arm violation prevention effort.