BusPatrol and the Hendrick Hudson School District today released the results of a pilot program aimed at deterring school bus stop-arm violations. Data shows that over the course of two months, nearly 400 motorists illegally passed a stopped school bus.
The pilot program also captured video footage of close encounters, providing the public with a firsthand look into the dangerous driving behavior that routinely endangers students when getting on and off a school bus. The footage was captured using cameras that were installed on stop-arms affixed to 49 school buses.
The Hendrick Hudson School District obtained the data through a pilot program with BusPatrol, the leading stop-arm enforcement technology provider in North America. From September through October, school buses equipped with AI-powered stop-arm cameras recorded a total of 367 illegal passings. The school district serves approximately 2,300 students in five schools in Buchanan, Verplanck, Crugers, Montrose, and portions of Cortlandt Manor, Croton-on-Hudson, and Peekskill. In addition to providing transportation to the five Hendrick Hudson schools, the district also provides transportation services to 15 out-of-district private, parochial, and special needs schools.
Liz Gilleo, the Transportation Supervisor at the Hendrick Hudson School District and President of the Lower Hudson New York Association for Pupil Transportation said: The stop-arm camera program is incredibly important to the safety of our children. Each day school buses are passed, and our children are at risk of being hit and injured or killed by a passing motorist. I have been working on getting this program in our county since 2021 and I feel that saving our children is extremely important.”
“When drivers illegally pass stopped school buses, they put the lives of students in danger. The information released today demonstrates the need for sensible photo enforcement of these violations on our roads. One close call is too many, and the video evidence of nearly 400 close calls is compelling. The Hendrick Hudson School District has taken leadership in generating the data to support Westchester County as it considers implementing a school bus safety program that gives schools and law enforcement the tools they need to keep our kids safe,” said Jean Souliere, CEO and Founder of BusPatrol.
Westchester is the only county in the New York City region that has not yet authorized a school bus safety program. As a result, school districts and police departments across the county are denied the opportunity to utilize advanced photo enforcement technology to catch lawbreakers and issue citations to motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus. Neighboring suburban counties including Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam, as well as Suffolk County, and several municipalities in Nassau County on Long Island, have all approved bus safety programs.
According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, stopped school buses are passed illegally an estimated 50,000 times per school day.
In New York State, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the large red visual sign is in operation. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students. All motorists are required to stop whether approaching a stopped school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear. This applies whenever their visual signal is in operation on any public highway, street, or private road.
As of August 19, 2019, a school bus camera law in New York authorizes school districts and municipalities to use stop-arm cameras on school buses to hold vehicle owners responsible for their cars passing a stopped school bus. This program allows a school district to equip school buses with stop-arm cameras designed to capture images of vehicles illegally passing stopped buses. The images are then transmitted to the municipality and used to identify the owners of vehicles and to send notices of liability to the owners. Tickets given by these cameras can result in fines of $250 for a first violation and up to $300 for each violation in an 18-month period. The owners may then pay a fine or contest their liability.