BEDFORD, N.Y. The state of New York says drivers are increasingly putting students at risk by ignoring school bus traffic signals.
The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, SafeNY , says it is estimated that 50,000 cars illegally pass school buses in New York state every day, violating Section 1174 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
On April 18, Bedford police officers will participate in a statewide initiative to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement.
As part of Operation Safe Stop , Bedford officers will ride on school buses and will be deployed in special patrols in marked and unmarked vehicles. They will focus on bus routes that have had the most complaints of unsafe driving.
Bedford police Sgt. Mel Padilla said in a press release, Bus drivers have reported concerns of increased aggressive driving potentially putting students at risk by disregarding stopped school buses while unloading or loading passengers.
SafeNY notes that a bus's yellow lights will go on about 300 feet before it stops, meaning the bus is slowing down, and the red lights indicate that there are students getting on or off the bus.
Drivers must stop for flashing red lights every single time, Padilla said in the release, even on highways and on school grounds.
The Bedford police are supported in this initiative by the governor's Traffic Safety Committee, the state Education Department and the New York Association for Pupil Transportation.
The enforcement is designed to deliver a message to risky drivers: There are harsh penalties for passing school buses. First convictions carry fines up to $400 and 30 days in jail, and third convictions bring fines of up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail.
Not to mention, Padilla said, The memory of hitting or killing a child will be one you carry for the rest of your life.
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