Bill to increase penalties for passing school buses in NY passes Senate

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A pair of bills unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday that would increase penalties if you decide to pass a stopped school bus.

The Association backs these bills a 100 percent and say a lot of the violations law enforcement see are a lack of knowledge.

If a school bus is stopped on one side of the road, traffic on both sides must stop. The group hopes these bills will help reinforce that message.

“Where you had a number around nearly 50,000 drivers who pass a stop sign school bus every day, those numbers have declined down into the 40’s,” Al Roney, Spokesman for the New York School Bus Contractors Association, said.

Al Roney with the New York School Bus Contractors Association is hopeful people will continue to stop instead of fly by stopped school buses, but the numbers tell him too many people are still choosing to go around.

“The awareness campaigns are working, but unfortunately it still happens all to frequently and more needs to be done.”

“Let’s start with this and will have knowledge of results, of how drivers will behave and if we have to do something stronger we will,” Senator John Bonacic said.

Roney and the School Bus Association hopes a pair of bills on their way to the Assembly will only continue to drive the number down.

Under the bills, if you even pass a school bus just once, you could pay up to $400 and spend time in jail.

If you get caught a second or third time, the rates climb even higher and you could see your license suspended for two months.

“Hopefully with more awareness and as we continue our campaigns to bring out more awareness of this issue, that people will get it and they’ll just stop doing it and we won’t have to worry about it,” Roney said.

The Senate has passed similar bills in previous years, but they’ve failed to see action. The Assembly does have bills looking at this issue, whether they’ll take them up in the remaining week of session is unclear.

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