ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York Association for Pupil Transportation’s (NYAPT’s) latest survey of school bus passing has estimated that more than 34,000 violations occurred statewide in one day.
In the 31 school districts that participated in the survey on Feb. 9, 890 school bus drivers reported they were passed a total of 607 times, including six passes on the right side of the school bus. (According to NYAPT, the total number of passes as well as right side passes may have been affected by a major snowstorm in the state at the time of the survey.)
At that rate of passing when applied to over 50,000 school buses in New York state, the total estimated illegal passing rate is 34,101 passes for that day. That same calculation would mean that, of that number, 337 motorists passed school buses on the right side of the bus that day.
For the current school year, the survey is averaging 39,499 illegal passes per day, including 2,901 right side passes per day. While the month-to-month numbers were lower in February, it does not reduce the overall critical safety problem, according to NYAPT. (In the January count day, NYAPT estimated that 41,401 motorists passed stopped school buses for that day. That made January the third month in a row with an estimate of over 40,000 daily violations.)
“We continue to be deeply concerned about this clear and present danger for our children,” said Lori Ann Savino, NYAPT president and transportation supervisor for Jericho Public Schools. “Motorists really must pay attention and follow the law that requires them to stop for those red lights. It’s all we ask.”
“This is personal. Every time a motorist passes a yellow school bus with its red lights flashing, he or she endangers the life of a child,” said Peter Mannella, NYAPT’s executive director. “That is unacceptable. We implore those with whom we share the road to simply obey the law. A child’s life is depending on it. We call on the governor, the state agencies, and the state legislature to recognize this as a critical problem we must address together. It’s an easy message: Stop for the school bus.”