The latest survey by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) found an increase in motorists illegally passing stopped school buses.
In the 29 school districts that participated in the Dec. 16 survey, 912 school bus drivers reported that they were passed a total of 592 times, including 51 passes on the passenger 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 32,456 passes for that day. This total marks a significant increase over the Oct. 21 survey of 19,129 and the 30,735 on Nov. 18.
“We continue to see motorists pass our school buses at alarming rates,” said David Adam, president of NYAPT. “The motoring public really has to get serious about stopping for stopped school buses … for the safety of our children.”
As part of its response to this problem, NYAPT is seeking legislation that will allow cameras to be mounted near the stop arms of school buses and the evidence from those cameras to be used to prosecute motorists who pass stopped school buses illegally.
“We urge the state legislature and the governor to get on board and enact legislation that will allow stop arm cameras to identify motorists who pass our stopped school buses and to allow tickets to be issued as a result of the images taken by those cameras,” said Peter Mannella, executive director of NYAPT. “It’s all for the safety of our children.”
NYAPT also issued its priorities for the 2016-17 state budget, calling for restoration of funds taken from school districts under the Gap Elimination Adjustment and for some $2.2 billion in school aid increases to support local education efforts.
The NYAPT will pursue the following priorities in the coming weeks as the governor and the Legislature negotiate the state's budget:
- Continue and fully fund transportation aid as an expense-based aid.
- Authorize transportation aid for the costs of transporting universal pre-K students.
- Increase funding for, and target the uses of, the school bus driver training fund to specific training areas.