It is estimated that every day in New York State alone, 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass stopped school buses.
It is not only illegal, but extremely unsafe, to pass a school bus with their red lights flashing, whether approaching from the front or from the rear of the bus. Flashing lights signal that a bus is stopped for either loading or discharging students.
On April 18, law enforcement personnel from across the state will participate in Operation Safe Start. Officers will patrol in marked and unmarked vehicles, and officers will be onboard buses in select areas that have a history of illegal passing complaints, watching for violators. Police will ticket those drivers who pass stopped school buses and violations will be reported to a central command post where final figures will be available to state and local officials as well as to the media.
Penalties for passing a stopped school bus include a $250 to $400 fine, five points on your license and up to 30 days in jail for a first offense and significantly higher penalties for subsequent offenses.
Legal implications aside, the memory of hitting or killing a child would be something you carry for the rest of your life.
Operation Safe Start seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts.
The project is cooperatively supported by the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the New York State Education Department, and many other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies and organizations. It is through these cooperative efforts of the many traffic safety partners and their continued commitment to protecting school children and educating the motoring public of the dangers association with passing stopped school buses, that helps make Operation Safe Start a success.
Remember; never pass a school bus with red lights flashing. Not on the roadway, not in a parking lot, and not on a multi-lane highway. Last year’s Operation Safe Stop enforcement results reported 1,316 tickets issued for passing a stopped school bus along with 1,201other moving violations. Stay safe, and keep students safe while being transported to and from school.
For more information about school bus safety and keeping kids safe on their trip, visit www.safeny.gov and click on the kids’ page.