ALBANY — A measure signed into law Tuesday allows school districts to install cameras on buses to catch drivers illegally passing stopped school buses.
The cost of installing and operating cameras on school buses would be paid by the municipalities within the school districts. Local governments will be able to negotiate contracts with companies that provide the cameras, which could include using much of the revenue from tickets to cover the local costs. That’s similar to the operation of cameras that catch speeders and motorists passing through red lights, according to the bill.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the bill, which passed with strong support in the Legislature earlier this year, will deter drivers from passing buses stopped to pick up and drop off children.
Passing a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing, even on a multiple-lane highway, draws a fine of $250 to $400, assesses five points against a license, which could increase insurance premiums, and could lead to revocation of the license with more violations and up to 30 days in jail.
A one-day study in April 2018 by the state resulted in 850 drivers being ticketed with hundreds more ignoring the flashing lights. The study projected that drivers pass a stopped school bus 150,000 times in a school year statewide.
“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,” Cuomo said.
“New York has shown national leadership in providing districts with the cutting-edge tools to build a comprehensive school safety ecosystem that protects our kids on their way there and back home,” said Jean Souliere, CEO of the citizens’ advocacy group BusPatrol.
The state school Boards Association supported the measure.