Motorists in Dutchess County can expect warnings for violations until Jan. 12, 2022. After that,...

Motorists in Dutchess County can expect warnings for violations until Jan. 12, 2022. After that, count on citations and fines in the mail.

Photo courtesy of BusPatrol

New York's Dutchess County and BusPatrol have partnered to launch a school-bus safety program geared toward deterring motorists from illegally passing stopped school buses.

The Pine Plains Central School District, with 38 buses in its fleet, is the first in Dutchess County to implement the stop-arm camera program. Other districts are expected to join in the coming year. The program starts with a warning period for motorists that lasts until Jan. 12, 2022. After that, motorists caught on camera can expect a citation and fine in the mail, according to a news release.

"The safety and well-being of Dutchess County's children is a shared responsibility, one in which we all play a role, and that includes in our homes, in our schools, and on our roads," said Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County executive. "Passing a stopped school bus is more than illegal: it's dangerous and threatens the lives of youn students every day. Dutchess County will not tolerate such reckless conduct, and today's partnership with BusPatrol codifies our intent to keep students safe: if you illegally pass a school bus, risking children's safety, be prepared to pay the penalty."

Said Martin Handler, superintendent of Pine Plains Central School District: "The safety of our students is a top priority, and the Pine Plains Central School District is eager to protect students from motorists who flout the law and illegally drive around a stopped school bus."

Besides stop-arm cameras, school districts have access to other safety technology, including:

  • Cloud-managed, 360-degree safety cameras (interior, windshield, rearview, and sideload) to provide a full view of activity surrounding the school bus
  • Emergency resonse solutions to enable school transportation, school, and law enforcement officials to respond immediately
  • GPS, routing, and telemetry solutions to see where buses are located at any given time

The technology, installation, and maintenance of all hardware and software included in the BusPatrol Student Safety Platform are provided at no cost to the school district and taxpayers, the release said. The program is expected to be funded by violators over a 5-year term.

"Our safety programs are helping to promote a safer driving culture across the state of New York," said Jean Souliere, founder and CEO of BusPatrol. "We want to create a reflex in drivers, so that every time they see a big yellow bus on the road, they slow down and prepare to stop. That simple action could save the life of a child."