ALBANY, N.Y. — For the second month in a row, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation's (NYAPT's) survey of school bus passing has estimated that more than 40,000 violations occurred statewide in one day.
In the 35 school districts that participated in the survey on Dec. 15, 765 school bus drivers reported they were passed a total of 678 times, including 101 passes on the right side of the school bus. That represents a marked increase in the number of right-side passes reported. (In the Nov. 20 survey, the number of right-side passes reported by drivers was 32.)
At that rate of passing when applied to over 50,000 school buses in New York state, the total estimated illegal passing rate is 44,314 passes for that day. That same calculation would mean that, of that number, 6,601 motorists would have passed school buses on the right side of the bus that day.
In the November count day, NYAPT estimated that 40,654 motorists passed stopped school buses statewide, including 1,479 right-side passes.
During the 2015-16 school year, NYAPT conducted a similar count day program and averaged 29,533 illegal passes per day, including a high of 36,857 in May 2016.
“This month’s rise in the level of ‘right side’ passes is a very serious concern to us,” said Lori Ann Savino, NYAPT president and transportation supervisor for Jericho Public Schools. “That right side of the school bus is used by our children to board and depart the school bus. They are moving supposedly within the protection of the bus. When a motorist comes up along the right side of the bus, they are creating a high-risk situation and endangering the children. This trend is deeply upsetting to us and to every school bus driver in our state.”
“These numbers continue to rise and this year’s levels are higher than last year’s levels,” said Peter Mannella, NYAPT executive director. “We need parents and our school partners to help us to increase awareness of the rules of the road or we are going to face a tragedy. We call on the governor, state agencies, and the state legislature to adopt this issue as a problem we must address together. It’s an easy message: Stop for the school bus. It’s all for the safety of our children.”