ALBANY, N.Y. — A new state law requires at least one question about school bus safety on the written test for general driver’s license applicants and coverage of the topic in the state’s pre-licensing driver's education course.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed SB2960B, also referred to as the School Bus Safety Awareness bill, into law on Tuesday, according to the New York State Assembly’s website. As School Bus Fleet previously reported, the law would require the state commissioner to create a curriculum for the “school bus safety” component of the course that would include “an overview of traffic laws governing overtaking and passing school buses.” Additionally, the pre-licensing written test administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles is required to include at least one question that addresses school bus safety.
SBF previously reported that the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Anna Kaplan, along with a companion bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, passed both houses during the 2019 legislative session.
“As lawmakers, we have a solemn duty to ensure that we take every step necessary to ensure the safety of the children in our communities,” Sen. Anna Kaplan said in a news release. “So when we have a situation where an estimated 40,000 drivers in New York are illegally passing school buses each day, we have a crisis on our hands that demands attention. That’s why I’m proud to have passed legislation ensuring that drivers in this state understand the laws on school bus safety, to better protect our kids on their way to and from school, and I’m so grateful to Gov. Cuomo for signing it into law.”
The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) thanked the governor in a news release for signing the bill into law as well as Sen. Kaplan and Assemblywoman Rosenthal for sponsoring the legislation.
“Today is a big win for school bus safety in New York,” said Corey Muirhead, president of the NYSBCA. “Our association’s leadership has worked on this meaningful piece of legislation since day one with the goal of ensuring that all new drivers in this state fully understand that regardless of whether you are late to get to your destination, it is not worth a child’s life. Slow down, be alert and stop for school buses.”
The state also recently passed a law allowing school districts to install stop-arm cameras on school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass stopped buses and help law enforcement issue tickets to those offenders.