The results of a survey conducted by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) suggest that more than 17,824 motorists passed a stopped school bus statewide on Oct. 21.

The survey was completed as part of National School Bus Safety Week to call attention to the dangers of illegal passing. It involved school bus drivers from a sample of 18 school districts across New York state.

The results of the one-day survey, completed by 1,080 school bus drivers, showed a total of 385 illegal passing incidents.

The details are as follows:

•    Number of left side illegal passes during the morning runs: 158
•    Number of left side illegal passes during the afternoon runs: 213
•    Number of right side illegal passes during the morning runs: 4
•    Number of right side illegal passes during the afternoon runs: 10

“These results demonstrate the continued dangers of illegal passing in our state. If we expand that number [of illegal passing incidents] out to our 50,000 school buses, we would have seen 17,824 illegal passes on that day … and that is a problem,” NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella said. “We continue to call upon the public to stop when they approach a stopped school bus. We also call upon the state Legislature and the governor to agree on enacting legislation to allow the installation of stop-arm camera technology on school buses to enable us to apprehend illegal passers and issue tickets and fines to them. Other states have enacted such legislation, and it’s time for New York to step up, too.”

Over the years, NYAPT has estimated that motorists pass school buses some 50,000 times each day, and frequent research and surveys have borne that out, according to the association. Additionally, school bus drivers are reporting an increased number of incidents of motorists passing stopped school buses on the right side, the side on which the children board and disembark from the bus.

“We had NYAPT members [participate] from all across New York state, including some very small rural districts, small city districts and larger suburban districts, so we want to thank those 1,080 school bus drivers and the participating school districts and school bus contractors for doing their part to help get the message out about illegal passing of school buses,” NYAPT President David Adam said.

“We are deeply concerned that a passing motorist will strike and kill a student or injure a student. We are intent on calling the public’s attention to this highway safety risk and to get parents and educators engaged in reducing illegal passing,” he added.

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