School Bus Stop-Arm Safety Program Aims to Curtail Illegal Passing of Stopped School Buses

In 2019, following a survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, Governor Cuomo signed legislation authorizing school districts to install stop-arm cameras on school buses. The legislation aimed to address the alarming figures that the survey revealed: in the United States, more than 17 million stop-arm violations occur each year.

The illegal passing of school buses directly impacts the safety of the children that count on buses for transportation to and from school. In New York State, approximately 2.3 million children are transported by bus every day.

A 2019 study conducted in East Meadow revealed important data on the prevalence of this issue within New York State. Stop-arm cameras were installed on 10 buses and monitored for one month. Just in that short time frame, 615 illegal stop-arm passes were reported. This translates to an average of 2.3 per bus, per day. The study also modeled what this figure might look like at the broader County level: roughly 8,100 violations per day, or 1.4 million per school year.

The School Bus Stop-Arm Safety Program will provide data to the city and schools to make informed decisions on school bus safety stops. The program outfits the entire county’s school bus fleet with the latest stop-arm technology. They will be equipped with cameras, DVR and storage devices, internal cameras, GPS, telemetry and LTE connectivity. Incidents that involve vehicles illegally passing busses are captured via this technology and reviewed by Alertbus safety exports. From there, the footage is prepared in evidence packages for law enforcement.

The technology is only one piece of the full solution, however. Educating the public via public safety campaigns is also necessary to ensure that motorists learn to adjust their behavior around school buses. Knowing that they will get caught will significantly reduce the chances of a motorist making the decision to illegally pass a stopped bus, which will ultimately result in fewer incidents in which school kids are injured.

Many districts across Suffolk County participate in the program at no cost to their schools, taxpayers, or County. The program is violator-funded and handles procurement, installation, management, and maintenance of the technology.

With public knowledge and awareness, the program is bound to succeed in reducing incidents related to the illegal passing of stopped busses. Nevertheless, even with the safety program, accidents still may occur. And in cases where an injury occurs, The North Shore Injury Lawyer, Mark Freeley, is always here to help. We will be able to leverage the video evidence from the safety program to ensure that injured children obtain the compensation they so truly deserve.