Motorists who blow by the extended stop arm of school...

Motorists who blow by the extended stop arm of school buses in five of Oyster Bay Town's school districts will get a warning starting Wednesday before ticketing starts in June. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Motorists in five school districts in the Town of Oyster Bay who drive past stopped school buses with a stop sign deployed starting Wednesday will get a 30-day warning before the town starts ticketing drivers in June.

The town is the latest municipality to partner with vendor BusPatrol, which uses artificial intelligence and cameras affixed to school buses to capture images of drivers passing as children are being picked up or discharged — an effort that has drawn a court challenge and a change in state law.

The Town of Hempstead and the cities of Long Beach and Glen Cove in Nassau, and Suffolk County also partner with BusPatrol. The Town of North Hempstead is “finalizing details” of an agreement with the same company, town spokesman Umberto Mignardi said Tuesday. 

Out of Oyster Bay's 14 school districts, North Shore, Hicksville, Jericho, Farmingdale and Plainview-Old Bethpage have so far signed up for the program, said Gary Lewi, a BusPatrol spokesman.

During the 30-day warning period, drivers who would have been slated for a ticket instead will get a notification that advises them of the violation but has no financial penalty.

Starting June 1, motorists will get a $250 ticket for a first offense, followed by a $275 ticket for a second offense and a $300 ticket for a third offense, according to state law.

In total, 352 buses across the five districts will be equipped with the technology, said Kate Spree, a BusPatrol spokeswoman.

The Town of Oyster Bay will receive 55% of the revenue while BusPatrol will receive the remaining 45%, said Madison Spanodemos, a town spokeswoman. 

Unlike in Suffolk County, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman declined to participate in the BusPatrol program at the county level, leaving Nassau’s three towns and two cities to decide if they wanted to enroll.

The company previously said a reviewer checks visual evidence before making a recommendation on a violation and sending a package over to law enforcement officials, who make the final decisions on whether to issue tickets.

A 2019 state law allowed municipalities to partner with districts to use cameras that catch violators in the act, Newsday previously reported. The law requires drivers stop at least 20 feet away from a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and stop-arm deployed.

A provision in the New York State budget deal adopted April 20 amended the law by adding there is a “presumption” that a stopped school bus is in the process of picking up or dropping off children after a challenge worked its way to a state appellate court and the court found the photographic evidence used to issue the tickets was insufficient.

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