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NYAPT Names Legislator of the Year for Urging of School Bus Stop Arm Law

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation named Sen. Catherine Young its Legislator of the Year for introducing a bill that would allow video collected at school bus stops of motorists illegally passing the bus, to be used as evidence for prosecution.

Young’s legislation, which is sponsored in the State Assembly by Assembly Member William Magnarelli, would authorize school districts to install video cameras on or near stop arms, and authorize the use of video by police and the judicial system when illegal passing violations are recorded. Young’s legislation would allow school districts to enter into agreements with local law enforcement agencies in relation to the fines collected through the use of video recording devices installed on school buses, including the capacity to receive funds to support costs incurred by the district through the use and maintenance of the cameras.

“Illegal passing of stopped school buses is a real danger to our children. Our students trust that motorists will obey the law and stop for their school buses,” said NYAPT President Richard Gallagher. “It is so important that motorist stop for school buses. If they don’t stop, they should be penalized. Sen. Young’s proposed law will allow us to apprehend and penalize those who violate the law.”

NYAPT recognized Sen. Young during an Oct. 31 award ceremony held at her office in Olean, N.Y.

Under Young’s legislation, school districts would also be allowed to enter into contracts with private vendors for installation, processing, notifications and other administrative functions related to the enforcement process. The bill would also establish a School Bus Safety Education Program fund derived from fines collected from violations of Section 1174 of the state’s Vehicle and Traffic Law. 

Motorists found guilty would face fines between $250 to $450 for a first violation. Multiple convictions could result in higher fines and a 60-day suspension of the driver’s license. In the event a motorist injures a person during an illegal passby, he or she could be charged with midemeanor criminal assault in the third degree, which is punishable by up to one year in jail. If a person is killed during an incident, motorists face a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

The bill has yet to move out of a transportation committee at this report.

Sen. Young discusses illegal passing of school buses and her legislation during a May interview with “Your Voice” shortly after it was introduced.

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