October 20, 2014 @ 1:17 PM

This week, October 20-24, is National School Bus Safety Week. It is a public education program designed to promote school bus safety. In the early 1990’s, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (www.napt.org), the National School Transportation Association (www.schooltrans.com) and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (www.nasdpts.org) joined forces to form the National School Bus Safety Week Committee and coordinate School Bus Safety Week activities throughout the country. The members of the committee, joined by several other sponsors, have designated the third week in October each year as National School Bus Safety Week.

The centerpiece of National School Bus Safety Week is the National SBSW Poster Contest. Thousands of school districts in over 40 states participate in local and state-level competitions to select art work that depicts school bus safety-related themes and encourages and promotes school bus safety. The winning posters are used to promote safer school transportation for everyone. For more information about the poster contest visit: http://napt.org/resources/national-school-bus-safety-week.php .

Did you know New York State transports 2.3 million children with more than 50,000 school buses to school every year? School buses are on the road at all hours of the day but mostly during a three hour window in the morning and a three hour window in the afternoon. School buses are noted for typically traveling at lower rates of speed and making frequent stops.

When a school bus is preparing to stop, the driver will activate the yellow flashing lights at approximately 300 feet before the stop. At the stop the vehicle will be put into neutral or park with the parking brake set to open the door and activate the red flashing lights with the stop arm/stop sign being extended and flashing.

New York State law requires motorists to stop for school buses that are receiving or discharging passengers. The driver of the vehicle must stop when they encounter a school bus with its red lights flashing:

  • on a public highway
  • on multiple lane roads
  • on opposite sides of divided highways
  • on a public street
  • on a private road
  • in a parking lot
  • on school property

The driver of the vehicle must stop from either direction. The driver must also stop if the school bus has another bus in front of it to receive or discharge passengers.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR SHARING THE ROAD WITH SCHOOL BUSES:

  • Remember buses make frequent stops. Be prepared to stop for them.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing on the right or left.
  • Watch for children who cross in front of the bus when the bus is stopped.
  • Look for children at bus stops and those running to bus stops.
  • By law school buses are required to stop at railroad crossings.

 

PENALTIES FOR ILLEGALLY PASSING STOPPED SCHOOL BUSES IN New York STATE

PENALTIES FOR ILLEGALLY PASSING A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS WITH ITS RED LIGHTS FLASHING ARE:

By Conviction

Fines

Points

Possible Imprisonment

First Conviction

$250 - $400

5

Up to 30 days

Second Conviction (within 3 Years)

$600 - $750

5

Up to 180 days

Third or subsequent Convictions (within 3 Years)

$750 - $1,000

5

Up to 180 days

In addition, did you know:

School buses keep cars off the road, decreasing both traffic congestion and fuel emissions. They keep an annual estimated 17.3 million cars off roads surrounding schools each morning. Every school bus = 36 cars.

Today’s school buses are tougher and more diligently maintained than ever before. School bus drivers receive special training in safety, security and medical procedures; undergo regular drug and alcohol testing; and receive regular driving record checks. School bus traffic laws designed to protect students are strictly enforced. 

Students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends. Students are much safer riding the bus than being driven by a parent, and are about 20 times more likely to arrive to school alive if they take the bus than if a parent drives them. 

Without school buses, your community can count on more traffic and pollution. Families will spend more money filling up their gas tanks more often, and many children will have a difficult time getting to school on time, every day.

So whenever you see a school bus with its red lights flashing please be aware there are children whose lives are depending on you, the motorist, to stop.  Also, please slow down whenever you see a school bus, no matter where or what it is doing, there is a 100% chance there are children nearby!

For more information about school bus safety please visit:

http://www.safeny.ny.gov/media/beSmart-schbus.htm

http://www.schoolbusfacts.com