Press Release - 04-25-2018 (2)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Contacts:
Lisa Koumjian
Lisa.Koumjian@dmv.ny.gov

 

GOVERNOR’S TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES 15th ANNUAL ‘OPERATION SAFE STOP’ TO TICKET DRIVERS WHO PASS STOPPED SCHOOL BUSES

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today announced that law enforcement will again be focused on deterring motorists from passing stopped school buses. “Operation Safe Stop” is an annual enforcement and public education campaign to be held on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Drivers passing school buses that are stopped and flashing their red lights will be ticketed.

GTSC and the New York Association for Pupil Transportation have collaborated on the enforcement and education initiative since October 2003.

“Passing a stopped school bus is one of the most dangerous actions a driver can take, and these incidents are easily preventable,” said Terri Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting GTSC Chair. “State Police and local law enforcement issue tickets every day to keep our children safe from reckless drivers who pass stopped buses. ‘Operation Safe Stop’ is meant to educate and remind the public to stop so that children can get safely to and from school.”

During the 2017 crackdown, 70 police agencies participated in the enforcement campaign. Their combined efforts produced 1,037 tickets for passing stopped school buses, up 178 from the 2016 campaign, and 2,964 tickets for other moving violations, an increase of 1,417 from the previous year.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation conducts a survey once a month of bus drivers asking how often they are passed while stopped on one specific day. Based on their responses for the March 2018 survey, the association estimates that 30,252 drivers statewide illegally passed a school bus that day. Those numbers include 280 drivers who passed on the passenger side of the bus where students board and exit.

Peter Mannella, Executive Director of NYAPT, said, "Our children TRUST us to obey the law and STOP for school buses that have their red lights flashing. When we have tens of thousands of New Yorkers disregarding those red lights daily, we are endangering our children who ride those school buses. We implore all New Yorkers to remember those children as they approach a school bus with its red lights flashing. Those lights signal that children are boarding or departing their school bus. Their lives depend on all of us as adults obeying the law and caring about their safety."

Last year, a new billboard sponsored by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee focused on the message: "Stop on Red. Kids Ahead." See an image of the billboard.

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Keeping our children safe on their way to and from school is among our highest priorities. Everyone must do their part to ensure the safety of our young people. There is no excuse for passing a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing and children are getting on and off. Doing so can result in a senseless tragedy.  I urge all motorists to use caution when approaching a stopped bus, obey the law and observe the flashing red bus lights or you will be ticketed. By working together, we can ensure the safety of our children.” 

Drivers must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear. Motorists must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.

The fine for passing a stopped school bus ranges from a minimum of $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. If you are convicted of three of these violations in three years, your driver license will be revoked for a minimum of six months. Conviction of unlawfully passing a school bus while it’s stopped to get or let off passengers will result in five points on a driver license in addition to the penalty imposed by the court.

For more information about traffic safety in New York State, please visit the GTSC website at www.safeny.ny.gov.