ALBANY – Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday signed legislation authorizing school districts to install stop-arm cameras on school buses in order to catch drivers who unlawfully pass a stopped school bus and ensure the safety of New York’s students.
The measure is similar to the School Bus Camera Safety Act introduced by Sen. Cathy Young (R-Olean) before she left the state legislature. It was also a key component of Governor Cuomo’s Justice Agenda.
“No parent should ever have to worry that their child’s bus ride to and from school is anything other than safe and easy,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing this measure into law, 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.”
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our students getting to and from school,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This legislation will allow for the installation of cameras on school buses to crack down on drivers who illegally pass them on the road, putting young people’s lives in danger. The effort builds on our other progressive policies to protect students and all New Yorkers from harm.”
In New York State, approximately 1.5 million students ride school buses to and from school every year, and out of concern for their safety, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus. However, Operation Safe Stop in April 2018, the one-day in which law enforcement targeted offenders passing a stopped school bus, exposed that hundreds of people ignore this law and over 850 people were ticketed. This amounts to someone passing a stopped school bus over 150,000 times in a 180-day school year, endangering the safety of schoolchildren in every corner of this state. The legislation will hold drivers accountable and continues the Governor’s history of leadership in student safety by ensuring that students are safe on their way to and from school.
Governor Cuomo recognizes that the safety of our children is our highest priority. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signed to reinstate the speed camera program in New York City and expand the number of authorized school speed zones from 140 to 750. The bill also expanded the hours of the program to weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Additionally, in 2016 Governor Cuomo modernized the New York’s school safety laws to increase student safety. The updated laws required school districts to designate a point of contact in case of emergency, increase training requirements for faculty and staff and update safety drills to include a lock down event.