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New State Law Allows School Districts To Install Stop-Arm Cameras On Buses

school bus
school bus Photo Credit: Ramapo Police Department

A new law may give drivers planning to pass stopped school buses in New York pause, as they will soon be outfitted with stop-arm cameras to record drivers illegally putting children at risk.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will authorize school districts statewide to install stop-arm cameras on school buses in order to catch motorists who unlawfully pass a stopped bus in an effort to ensure the safety of New York students.

“No parent should ever have to worry that their child’s bus ride to and from school is anything other than safe and easy,” Cuomo stated. “By signing this measure into law, we are providing school districts the tools they need to hold reckless drivers accountable and advancing New York State's bold initiatives to keep our schoolchildren safe."

The camera would be on arms that would automatically extend when a bus stops. Drivers caught on camera passing a stopped bus would face $250 fines.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety of our students getting to and from school," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stated. "This legislation will allow for the installation of cameras on school buses to crack down on drivers who illegally pass them on the road, putting young people's lives in danger. The effort builds on our other progressive policies to protect students and all New Yorkers from harm."

An estimated 2.3 million students ride more than 50,000 school buses each year, and it is estimated by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation that 50,000 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses with red lights flashing every school day.

In 2018, during a one-day crackdown on the problem, police issued more than 850 tickets.

Sen. Tim Kennedy added, "every day across New York State, 50,000 drivers decide to deliberately break the law and pass a stopped school bus, putting our children's lives and safety at risk. This is simply unacceptable.

"By enacting this comprehensive legislation that ensures stricter enforcement of these crimes, we're sending a strong message: if you pass a stopped school bus in New York, you're going to get caught, you're going to be fined, and you're going to be held accountable.”

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