Bill would put cameras on school buses to track illegally passing drivers

March 20, 2018 01:21 PM

There are red light cameras for traffic lights -- and now school bus cams are moving closer to becoming reality in New York. These bus-mounted cameras are meant to catch people passing stopped school buses when they have their red lights flashing. A measure making it legal is gaining momentum at the state Capitol.

Red lights on a school bus mean stop. It's pretty simple. Apparently though, tens of thousands of New Yorkers fly right on by every day.

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"We do surveys once a month and we're seeing 40 to 50,000 passes a day. Not a year, a month – a day," pointed out Peter Mannella with the Association for Pupil Transportation.

What's even scarier -- the drivers who pass on the right. That's what got Peter Mannella from the New York Association for Pupil Transpiration into this. Back in 2004, a 7-year-old girl named Mallory Eddy from Madison County was hit and killed in front of her friends by a right-hand-side school-bus passer.

"I had to talk to a school bus driver and some parents where we had a child killed up in Central New York by an illegal passer and that moved me," he explained.

The cameras take pictures of license plates of passing vehicles. The photos would be digitally sent to law enforcement and then police could choose to ticket the driver.

Mannella says the money from fines would go to the school to conceivably pay for the cameras. There are also companies that install the $2,000 to $4,000 cameras for free, then take the money from the tickets.

The hope is people realize they're being watched and stop breaking the law.

"Some of the cities I've talked to – Dallas, Baltimore, places that like that – they've seen after the first two years, numbers drop down by about a half to two-thirds reduction in passing. I would give anything for that," noted Mannella.

Your first ticket for passing a school bus could be $250 to $400 and five points on your license.

The bill is both in the proposed budget bills of Governor Cuomo and the Senate. The Assembly left it out. Mannella thinks there's a good chance it will pass in the final budget.


WNYT Staff

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