Both bills have yet reached the governor's desk but have been forwarded to the New York state assembly. Under Sen. Funke's legislation, S.1023 would increase the range of fines for illegal school bus passing from a minimum of $400 to a maximum of $1500. Legislation reuqires if a person is injured while passing a school bus be charged with aggravated vehicular assault. If a fatality occurs amid an illegal bus passing, legislation requires a criminal charge of negligent homicide.
S.1064, under Sen. Bonacic's legislation, adds to the penalty of illegal bus passing with a 60-day driver's license suspension upon conviction within a 10-year period.
The New York School Bus Contractor Association backs the bills 100 percent, as noted that many drivers fail to stop for school buses.
Drivers ticketed with a first offense of illegal school bus passing face up to 30-days in jail and as much as a $400 fine with a 5-point penalty on their drivers license.
Al Roney, spokesman for the New York School bus contractors association, said that bringing public awareness to illegal bus passing has helped reduce the number of incidents to 40,000 on average a day from previous figure of 50,000. But the problem still remains.
The New York School Bus Association hopes both bills, if signed into law, could reduce illegal bus passing incidents.