Press Release - 10-16-2023

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2023

DURING NATIONAL SCHOOL BUS SAFETY WEEK, DMV AND GTSC REMIND DRIVERS TO STOP FOR SCHOOL BUSES

October 16-20 is National School Bus Safety Week

During National School Bus Safety Week, October 16-20, 2023, the  New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the  Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) remind motorists to stop and wait whenever they encounter a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and “stop” sign extended.  Drivers who pass a stopped school bus illegally can face tickets, fines and other penalties. Motorists should also be alert to students walking or bicycling to school and always follow the posted speed limits.

“Illegally passing school buses is a chronic problem in our state that puts students in serious danger,” said GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Parents should not have to fear for their children’s safety because of a driver’s reckless behavior. Whenever you encounter a school bus from the front or from the rear and its lights are flashing red, you must stop. If the yellow lights are flashing, the bus is preparing to stop, and so should you.”

Motorists must always stop for school buses when the red lights are flashing, even when they are on the opposite sides of divided highways, on multiple lane roadways, in parking lots or on school grounds. Fines for unlawfully passing a stopped school bus range from a minimum of $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years, while jail time ranges from up to 30 days for a first violation to up to 180 days for a second and third violation in three years.

In addition to any court-imposed penalty, being convicted for illegally passing a stopped school bus will result in five points on a driver license. Three convictions in three years will result in a minimum six-month revocation of the motorist’s driver license.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation  (NYAPT) estimates that 50,000 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses statewide each school day. NYAPT and GTSC address this problem by supporting “Operation Safe Stop.” During this one-day enforcement effort, police officers patrol selected bus routes that have a history of illegal-passing complaints, ticketing drivers who pass stopped buses. The New York State Education Department, the  New York State School Bus Contractors Association, the student transportation industry and state and local law enforcement agencies also support “Operation Safe Stop.”

DMV and GTSC also encourage parents to discuss school bus safety with their children, including teaching them to always look both ways when crossing the street and to look to the right when they step off a bus. Parents who meet their children at the bus stop after school should wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. 

The problem isn’t limited to New York. In the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services 2022 Stop Arm survey, 79,859 school bus drivers reported that 51,593 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day during the 2020-21 school year.

To learn more about the NYS DMV, visit  dmv.ny.gov, or follow the DMV conversation online on  Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram. 

For more information about GTSC, visit  trafficsafety.ny.gov, or follow the GTSC conversation on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram.

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