National School Bus Safety Week Begins

            The New York State Bus Distributors Association (NYSBDA) joined the New York Association for Pupil Transportation in supporting National School Bus Safety Week and is reminding drivers to be extra careful when they see the flashing red lights of a yellow school bus.

            NYSBDA is reminding motorists that they must stop when they see the red lights flashing on a school bus.  In New York State, this includes on highways with a physical divider between opposing lanes. School bus driver surveys tell us the illegal passing of stopped school buses happens every day in our State resulting in a direct threat to student safety.

             “We ask motorists to be careful and to please drive without distraction, slow down and stop for a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing because in the end…a child’s life depends on it,” said NYSBDA President, Robert Reichenbach.

              New York State Vehicle and Traffic law requires all vehicles to come to a full stop when approaching a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing. Those lights mean that a child is either boarding or disembarking a school bus. New York state law prohibits the passing of a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing regardless of your direction of travel and even on a multi-lane or divided highway.

              Penalties for a first-time offense include a fine from $250 to $400, five points on your license and the possibility of 30 days in jail. A second conviction within three years will result in a $600 to $750 fine and up to 180 days in jail; while three or more convictions will result in a fine from $750 to $1,000, mandatory revocation of your driver’s license and up to 180 days in jail.

             In addition, school bus stop arm camera programs are in place in many areas across the State that automatically levy fines to the owner of any vehicle that illegally passes a stopped school bus. Fines are $250 for a first violation and up to $300 for additional violations.

            NYSBDA reminds students who ride the yellow school bus, to listen to their school bus driver and follow their directions when crossing in front of the school bus.  Students should do their best to make sure they move at least 15 feet away from the school bus so the bus driver can see them.

            NYSBDA is also reminding parents and caregivers to be patient with school bus drivers and school transportation providers due to the increased strain on our school transportation systems caused by the national shortage of school bus drivers.  Many school bus drivers are working extra to provide service due to the driver shortage.  NYSBDA asks that people take time during National School Bus Safety Week to thank their school bus drivers and other school transportation professionals for providing students with a safe ride to and from school.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are 70 times safer riding a school bus to school versus a private car — see

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