Today, law enforcement units across the State are participating in Operation Safe Stop, an annual program meant to crack down on motorists who illegally pass school buses when they are picking up or dropping off students.
Police officers and other law enforcement will be on board school buses and in marked and unmarked patrol cars on bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints. These police officers will be ticketing drivers who do not follow the rules of the road, and these tickets can have major consequences. If a driver is ticketed under Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1174(a) for failing to stop for a school bus, the fine can be up to $400, a five-point ticket, and up to 30 days imprisonment.
This section of the law makes it illegal to pass a school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean that the bus is picking up or dropping off students. You must stop when these lights are on, regardless of what side of the road you are on or in what direction you are going.
New York State transports more than 2.3 million children with over 50,000 school buses each year. In an effort to educate drivers and deter them from dangerously passing school buses, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has published the following tips for sharing the road with school buses:
- Remember buses make frequent stops. Be prepared to stop for them.
- NEVER pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing on the right or left.
- Watch for children who cross in front of the bus when the bus is stopped.
- Look for children at bus stops and those running to bus stops.
- By law school buses are required to stop at railroad crossings.
Last year’s Operation Safe Stop program netted 98 drivers for illegally passing a school bus and over 1000 other moving violations.
At LaMarche Safranko Law, we want our readers to practice safe driving around school buses and our children; not just today, but every day. Please pass along these tips and inform your friends and families to watch out for flashing red lights on a school bus.