Drivers can always get a ticket for passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights, but the summons will be more certain next week, April 16-20, when police will be concentrating on violations of this law.
“I will always write a ticket for anyone I see passing a stopped school bus,” said officer Joe Sanford of the Saugerties Police. “This program is to raise awareness and be sure the public is advised to watch for the safety of children.”
The awareness program is designed to avoid the kind of incident that occurred last year when a driver passed a school bus on the right just as a child was exiting. “The driver pulled the kid back into the bus, but it was very close” sergeant Don Tucker said.
Cars are required to stop when approaching a school bus with flashing lights from either direction.
According to the Operation Safe Stop website, the statewide Education and Enforcement Day for Operation Safe Stop is Wednesday, April 18. According to the site, Operation Safe Stop is a cooperative project supported by the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the New York State Education Department, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, the New York State School Bus Contractors Association, the student transportation industry and state, county, city and local law enforcement agencies.
Attorney Matthew J. Weiss’s website lists the penalty for passing a school bus with flashing lights as follows: a fine ranging from $250 to $400 and five points on the driver’s license for a first offense; for a second conviction, the fine is $600 to $750; and for a third offense, as much as $1,000. In addition, Weiss points out, there’s a flat surcharge of $70 added to all moving violations. Violators could receive jail time of up to 30 days for a first offense and up to 180 days for subsequent violations.