ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) has released the results of a survey taken on Nov. 20 to measure the incidence of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, and estimates that over 40,000 violations occurred statewide that day.
In the 32 school districts that participated in the survey that day, 1,086 school bus drivers reported they were passed a total of 883 times, including 32 passes on the right side of the school bus.
At that rate of passing when applied to over 50,000 school buses in New York state, the total estimated illegal passing rate is 40,654 passes for that day. That same calculation would mean that, of that number, 1,479 motorists would have passed school buses on the right side of the bus that day.
This compares with the October 2016 “count day” on which NYAPT estimated that 37,023 motorists passed stopped school buses, including 1,078 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.
“We really are concerned about these levels of illegal passing,” said Lori Ann Savino, NYAPT president and transportation supervisor for Jericho Public Schools. “Knowing that 40,000 or more motorists disregarded the law and showed a disregard for the lives of our children is frightening and frustrating to us as school bus safety professionals. We do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children. All we ask motorists to do is stop for the bus when those red lights are flashing.”
“This is a time for action,” said Peter Mannella, NYAPT executive director. “We need to gain the commitment of the public, of our parents, and school partners to increase awareness of the rules of the road and of school bus safety. We need our federal, state, and local public officials to make statements about and address this problem. It’s an easy message: Stop for the school bus. And it’s all for the safety of our children.”