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In the News: New York School Bus Safety Headlines (May 2023)

First-Ever School Bus Safety Summit a Success

After much fanfare, BusPatrol recently held the first-ever New York School Bus Safety Summit in partnership with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation.

The event, held at the Mansion at Timber Point in Great River, drew 150 attendees for an in-depth discussion of panelists and audience members on how school districts can leverage automated camera safety technology to enhance school bus safety and protect students from illegal motorist passings.

Joined by scores of local government leaders, school district staff, and PTA members for the one-day event, BusPatrol reps touted recent data that showcased a clear decline in year-over-year violations since the inception of the Suffolk County program. That means drivers are stopping for school buses and creating safer conditions for our kids.

Liz Gilleo, transportation director for the Hendrick Hudson School District in neighboring Westchester County, explained how their school pilot program with BusPatrol demonstrated the sheer number of illegal school bus passings happening in her community. The shocking rates, she said, encouraged her to join other transportation directors to press their county lawmakers to finally adopt a program of their own.

“We’re a small district; we only have 2,300 students, and for our district to have so many illegal passes in such a short amount of time was very alarming,” said Liz Gilleo.

Suffolk County law enforcement officials spoke about the growing challenge of distracted driving with the prevalence of social media apps and how there is a need for greater awareness around school bus safety.

Police officers have been granted additional enforcement capabilities with the availability of school bus camera technology, according to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.

“We can’t be at every single school bus stop, but having these cameras on school buses and seeing firsthand how stop-arm violations take place is alarming,” said Commissioner Harrison. “No one here can say with confidence that their child will get on and off the school bus safety, and if we can’t hold drivers accountable, it’s not taken seriously.”

The keynote speaker, State Senator Tim Kennedy, who serves as Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Transportation, championed legislation to authorize municipalities and school districts to install safety cameras on school buses.

Since that legislation was signed into law in 2019, almost 7,000 New York school buses have been equipped with this lifesaving technology to curb illegal motorist behavior, protecting more than 350,000 students. Read a full recap of our Summit here.

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