The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) has released the results of a survey taken on May 18 to measure the incidence of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, and estimates that nearly 37,000 violations occurred statewide that day.
This is the highest number of estimated violations since October 2015, when the association began conducting the monthly survey.
In the 74 school districts that participated, 2,001 school bus drivers reported they were passed a total of 1,480 times, including 61 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 36,857 passes for that day. That same calculation would mean that, of that amount, 1,479 motorists passed school buses on the right side of the bus on that day.
Since October 2015, the survey results have been:
• October 2015: 19,129
• November 2015: 30,735
• December 2015: 32,456
• January 2016: 23,841
• February 2016: 34,871
• March 2016: 25,250
• April 2016: 33,128
• May 2016: 36,857
“We are seriously alarmed at these high levels of illegal passing,” said NYAPT President David Adam. “These numbers mean that some 37,000 motorists disregarded the law and showed a disregard for the lives of our children. The fact that we had nearly 37,000 passes on one day is not only totally unacceptable; it is, quite frankly, frightening.”
NYAPT went to Albany, New York, on Tuesday to advocate for passage of legislation that will allow cameras to be mounted on school buses and the evidence from those cameras to be used to prosecute motorists who pass stopped school buses illegally. NYAPT believes there is significant support for that legislation (S3509C-Sen. Catharine Young and A1520C-Assemblyman William Magnarelli) and that it would pass in both houses if it came to a vote.
“This is a time for action. We need to pass legislation — this year — that will help us apprehend and ticket motorists who blow by red lights in ignorance, distraction or indifference,” said NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella. “It’s time New Yorkers lined up in support of safety for our children. Stop for the school bus. It’s all for the safety of our children.”
View NYAPT's video message about the dangers of illegally passing stopped school buses below.