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NY Association for Pupil Transportation calls on drivers to stop for school buses during Operation Safe Stop Day


Fri, Apr 19th 2024 12:55 pm

NYAPT says drivers must stop when they see flashing red lights on a school bus

Guest Editorial by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT), a statewide organization dedicated to the support, development and representation of professionals responsible for the safe and efficient transportation of our school children, is supporting Operation Safe Stop Day – an annual public awareness event to promote school bus safety and educate the public about the dangers of illegally passing a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing.

“Stop on red, our kids are ahead – that’s the Operation Safe Stop motto,” NYAPT Executive Director David Christopher said. “While the main focus is to remind drivers to stop for stopped school buses so we can keep our school children safe, it is important to note that law enforcement across the state will be out in force following yellow school buses and issuing tickets to those drivers who violate the law."

This year’s Operation Safe Stop takes place Thursday, April 25, and is a cooperative project supported by NYAPT along with the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee; the New York State Education Department; the New York State School Bus Contractors Association; New York State Bus Distributors Association; the student transportation industry; and state, county, city and local law enforcement agencies.

According to NYAPT’s own statewide surveys, an estimated 50,000 motorists in New York illegally pass stopped school buses every day school is in session, endangering students and putting their lives at risk. During Operation Safe Stop Day, law enforcement throughout New York state will be following school buses and issuing tickets to drivers who illegally pass them.

“Keeping children safe when they take the school bus to and from school each day is our top priority, and we urge motorists to do their part,” said NYAPT President and Transportation Director at Coxsackie-Athens School District Ted Nugent. “We ask the public to avoid all distractions while driving, to be aware of school buses that are on our roadways, and to always stop when they see those red lights flashing on a school bus. Student lives depend on all drivers following the law.”

New York state vehicle and traffic law requires all vehicles to come to a full stop when approaching a school bus stopped with red lights flashing. Those lights indicate that a child is either boarding or disembarking a school bus. New York state law prohibits the passing of a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing regardless of direction of travel, or even on a multi-lane or divided highway.

Penalties for a first-time offense of illegally passing a school bus include a fine from $250 to $400, 5 points on your license and the possibility of 30 days in jail. A second conviction within three years will result in a $600 to $750 fine and up to 180 days in jail; while three or more convictions will result in a fine from $750 to $1,000, mandatory revocation of your driver’s license, and up to 180 days in jail.

Additionally, for those school districts and municipalities that choose to use automated stop arm cameras on school buses, state law allows fines to be levied on the owner of any vehicle that illegally passes a stopped school bus beginning at $250 for a first violation and up to $300 for subsequent violations.

NYAPT chapters throughout the state will be holding Operation Safe Stop Day public awareness events.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are 70 times safer riding a school bus to school versus a private car. See www.nhtsa.gov.

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