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Nassau County seeks vendor for school bus camera program

Nassau County is searching for a vendor to administer a school bus camera monitoring program to catch and ticket drivers who illegally pass stopped buses.

The cameras would be attached to buses' stop arms and record the license plates of vehicles that illegally pass buses when the stop arm is extended. The county would mail tickets to the vehicles' owners.

The county issued a requests for proposals on Sept. 1 for vendors to monitor the program. Responses are due Sept. 24, and a contract will be awarded on Oct. 28.

The county is looking for a vendor to implement the program at no cost to the county or its school districts. The vendor would take a percentage of revenue generated from ticketed drivers.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, said in a statement, “My main priority, as students across the County head back to school, is protecting the health and safety of our children. The School Bus Safety Program will help protect our most precious cargo from reckless drivers that pass school buses and blow through their stop signs as students are boarding and exiting."

The County Legislature authorized the program in September 2019. But county officials said they wanted to gauge whether school districts had interest in the program before requesting proposals from vendors. Twenty-three of 26 school systems surveyed indicated support for the program, according to the county.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo authorized the stop-arm monitoring program in August 2019. State officials caught more than 850 people for violating the law when state police targeted offenders on a single day in April 2018. State officials relied on that data to project that drivers illegally pass school buses more than 150,000 times during a 180-day school year.

In 2019, Nassau County officials issued 96 tickets to vehicles that went around a school bus, representing a 21% increase from 2018, according to the county.

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