LATHAM, N.Y. — The New York School Bus Contractors Association is calling for the passage of legislation that would mandate the addition of a school bus safety component to the pre-licensing driver education course and written test for all applicants seeking to obtain a New York state driver license. The legislation (SB 5974), sponsored by NY State Senator Elaine Phillips of Nassau County, recently passed in the State Senate. It is part of an ongoing effort to educate drivers about the dangers of illegally passing a stopped school bus.
“With recent estimates showing as many as 40,000 drivers in New York illegally passing a stopped school bus every day school is in session, it is clear that more needs to be done to help keep our children safe,” said Bree Allen, President of the New York School Bus Contractors Association. “Additional education about the dangers of illegally passing a school bus is critical in reducing those numbers. We strongly support the passage of this bill to add school bus safety to the mandated education and testing requirements to receive a New York state driver license.”
The legislation, sponsored in the NYS Assembly by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan (AB 8565), establishes the addition of a mandatory School Bus Safety education component in the pre-licensing course prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle in New York state. In addition to promoting school bus safety, the purpose of the component is to educate prospective licensees on the dangers of illegally passing a school bus and reduce the number of such incidents.
The legislation also requires the written test for the New York state driver license to include one or more questions about school bus safety. The bill recently passed the New York State Senate (57-0) and is currently sitting in the New York State Assembly Transportation Committee.
“This legislation, along with our ongoing educational campaigns, including Operation Safe Stop, can go a long way in preventing a future tragedy involving the children who ride our yellow school buses,” concluded Allen. “We will continue to work closely with the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo, to help make that ride back and forth to school each day as safe as possible and reduce the number of drivers who put our children in harm’s way.”
The New York School Bus Contractors Association represents over 100 school transportation companies, also known as school bus contractors. The industry transports more than half of all the children who ride a school bus to and from school each day. The Association’s primary mission is to promote safe, reliable and cost-effective student transportation services for New York’s school children. For more information, please visit: www.nysbca.com