The New York Association for Pupil Transportation announced it would coordinate efforts for a statewide Operation Safe Stop Day effort next spring to count the number of motorists who illegally pass school buses.
The exact date of the count is scheduled for April 18. Operation Safe Stop is a program begun in 1993 in the Mohawk Valley area of New York. It brings together local school districts and law enforcement agencies to cooperate on ticketing motorists who illegally pass school buses that are stopped to pick up or drop off school children.
State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1174 requires motorists approaching a school bus from any direction and on any and all roads to come to a complete STOP when the school bus is stopped and has its red flashing lights engaged. Those lights, which are now supplemented with an extending stop arm, indicate that children may be approaching the bus or departing the bus and that all motorists must stop in observance of the children’s safety.
NYAPT estimates that on any given school day, motorists illegally pass stopped school buses over 50,000 times. This exposes our children to danger unnecessarily and causes multiple injuries each year and, on tragic occasion, fatalities.
On April 18, 2012, NYAPT will collaborate with the State Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee in conducting the events of the day. The New York State Police, other education and school transportation groups as well as hundreds of local and municipal police agencies will all lend their support and involvement on that day.
NYAPT says that more than 1,640 tickets were issued during the 2011 Safe Stop Day by police officers who observed a motorist passing a stopped school bus at random locations.