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Dutchess County Launches School Bus Safety Program to Protect Children, Stop Dangerous Drivers

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today the County has partnered with BusPatrol to launch a school bus safety program, tackling the issue of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses. As part of the partnership, more than 1,000 school buses across Dutchess County have access to advanced safety technology at zero cost to local taxpayers, including stop-arm cameras to help enforce traffic laws and educate motorists on the dangers of passing school buses.

The Pine Plains Central School District is the first in Dutchess County to implement the program across its entire fleet of 38 school buses; several other local districts are expected to join the program in the coming year. The program will commence with an initial warning period: Effective today, motorists who illegally pass a stopped Pine Plains school bus equipped with these cameras will receive a warning until Jan. 12, 2022. Starting Jan. 13, 2022, drivers who do so will receive a citation and fine in the mail.

County Executive Molinaro said, “The safety and well-being of Dutchess County’s children is a shared responsibility, one in which we all play a role, and that includes in our homes, in our schools and on our roads. Passing a stopped school bus is more than illegal, it’s dangerous and threatens the lives of young students every day. Dutchess County will not tolerate such reckless conduct, and today’s partnership with BusPatrol codifies our intent to keep students safe: If you illegally pass a school bus, risking children’s safety, be prepared to pay the penalty.”

Dutchess County has communicated with several other local districts, which are expected to join the program in early 2022, utilizing this potentially life-saving technology to protect thousands more local students.

According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, an estimated 50,000 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses every day in New York State, putting the lives and safety of children at risk.

Dr. Martin Handler, Pine Plains Schools Superintendent, said, “The safety of our students is a top priority, and the Pine Plains Central School District is eager to protect students from motorists who flout the law and illegally drive around a stopped school bus. Pine Plains is proud to be the first local school district to take part in the County’s partnership with BusPatrol and take an active role in protecting our students. We are certain this partnership will improve student safety, and it has the potential to save lives.”

In addition to stop-arm cameras, school districts have access to additional safety technology including:

  • Cloud-managed, 360-degree safety cameras (interior, windshield, rearview and sideload) to provide a full view of activity surrounding the school bus;
  • Emergency response solutions to enable student transportation, school, and law enforcement officials to respond immediately; and
  • GPS, routing and telemetry solutions to see where buses are located at any given time.

The technology, installation and maintenance of all hardware and software included in the BusPatrol Student Safety Platform are provided at no cost to the school district and taxpayers. The program is entirely funded by violators over a five-year term.

Jean Souliere, CEO and Founder of BusPatrol, said, “Our safety programs are helping to promote a safer driving culture across the state of New York. We want to create a reflex in drivers, so that every time they see a big yellow bus on the road, they slow down and prepare to stop. That simple action could help save the life of a child.”

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