Suffolk County and BusPatrol today announced the launch of Stop4MyBus, an educational initiative designed to raise awareness about school bus safety and empower stakeholders to advocate for meaningful change within their community. Flanked by law enforcement and school district officials at the Middle Country Central School District’s Centereach High School, the new initiative was timed around back to school to further educate the public on the rules of the road as students return to the classroom on their first week back from summer break.
Developed by BusPatrol in partnership with the Suffolk County School Bus Safety Committee, Stop4MyBus will empower parents, students, and policymakers with essential tools and resources to foster responsible driver behavior and strengthen stop-arm enforcement legislation. The brand will offer downloadable school bus safety booklets packed with valuable information and practical tips to ensure the well-being of children during their bus journeys. It will also provide useful tools to enable ordinary residents to become brand ambassadors and advocate for the adoption of school bus camera safety programs in their community.
Karoon Monfared, President and CEO of BusPatrol, said: “The way to achieve safer streets is by entrusting and empowering ordinary residents to demand meaningful change. This new educational initiative will provide the necessary tools and resources to amplify our mission and spread the word to help deter violations and keep students safe.”
The Stop4MyBus brand will also feature a Swag Shop for anyone to purchase featured items that promote the safety brand, including backpacks, coffee mugs, hats, and other apparel and items.
The educational initiative will be complemented through additional support from law enforcement. The Suffolk County Police Department and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office announced enhanced patrols and continued enforcement relating to school bus safety enforcement. In addition, the Suffolk County PBA announced plans to position billboards on high-traffic roadways with reminders to stop for the bus as part of a new partnership with the County.
Since its inception, the Suffolk County School Bus Safety Program has been a national model for how to implement full-fleet deployment of stop-arm enforcement technology. The program equips more than 5,000 buses with automated enforcement technology, the largest of its kind in the state. To date, school bus violations have been reduced by more than 30 percent year-over-year.
It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing pursuant to New York State law. Traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus either on a two-lane road, multi-lane highways, or on divided highways. A first-time stop-arm violation carries a fine of $250. Subsequence violations within an 18-month period are subject to a $25 increase, up to a maximum of $300.
”The safety of our students and our community is the Middle Country Central School District’s foremost priority. That’s why we’ve partnered with other school districts, along with Suffolk County and the county’s School Bus Safety Committee, to explore innovative methods to enhance road safety through education and awareness,” said Dr. Roberta Gerold, Superintendent of Schools at Middle Country Central School District, speaking at the press conference. “Most recently, our recommendations led to the creation of Stop4MyBus, an educational platform that uses children’s workbooks and animations, as well as letter templates, to advocate for better school bus safety.”
Wendy Natalone, Region Director of the Suffolk County PTA, said: “As parents, it’s not only important we take the time to remind ourselves of school bus stopping laws this back-to-school, but we also need to remind our kids how to stay safe on the road. We are excited to be able to leverage the educational resources available through Stop4MyBus to help improve school bus safety from a young age.”
Joseph Lesnick, President of the NYAPT Suffolk County chapter and member of the Suffolk County School Bus Safety Committee, said: “On behalf of the Suffolk County School Bus Safety Committee, we are proud to have played a part in the development of Stop4MyBus. Throughout my career in student transportation, I have seen the importance of education in changing behavior. By educating more people about school bus safety, we can build a safer future for our kids.”