A survey of illegal passing of school buses in New York last week found an increased rate of violations compared to previous counts.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) began conducting monthly stop-arm surveys in October. In the most recent, held on Feb. 10, 618 school bus drivers in 23 school districts reported that they were passed a total of 431 times, including seven passes on the passenger side of the bus.
Applying that rate of illegal passing to the more than 50,000 school buses in New York state, NYAPT determined that the total estimated illegal passing rate for that day was 34,871 passes — with 526 of those being on the passenger side of the bus.
“Over five months of our survey, this is the highest count by far,” NYAPT President David Adam said. “Our survey is now averaging 28,206 passes per day. This means over 28,000 motorists are really putting our children at risk of being injured or killed every day.”
NYAPT is urging the state Senate and Assembly to pass legislation that will allow cameras to be mounted on the exterior of school buses, and the evidence from those cameras to be used to prosecute motorists who pass stopped school buses illegally. Association officials said they believe there is significant support for that legislation (S3509B and A1520B) and that it would pass if it came to a vote.
“We have shared five months of data on this problem, and it’s time for action,” NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella said. “February is national Love the Bus month, and we wish that motorists would show respect not only for the school bus, but mostly for the children who ride on those school buses.”