Governor's Traffic Safety Committee


Joe Morrissey
Chet Lasell


Office of Communications
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

May 28, 2015

Operation Safe Stop Day Reminded Motorists that it is Illegal to Pass a Stopped School Bus

The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee today announced that the New York State Police, county and municipal law enforcement agencies issued 1,186 tickets to motorists for illegally passing a stopped school bus on April 16, 2015, the date of this year's statewide Operation Safe Stop initiative. Studies estimate that some 50,000 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses in New York State each day. Since 1993, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), in partnership with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT), has conducted a one-day Operation Safe Stop (OSS) enforcement campaign to crack down on motorists who disobey school bus safety traffic laws.

"New York State has 2.3 million students who ride school buses every day," said DMV Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. "Illegally passing a stopped school bus presents real dangers for our children statewide, and I'm proud of the work that the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and its partners do to raise awareness of this issue. I urge motorists to obey the law and be prepared to stop when students are boarding or disembarking school buses."

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, "Protecting children is a top priority. This initiative helps drivers understand that ignoring the flashing red lights on a school bus will lead to an expensive ticket and an important lesson on keeping kids safe. We urge drivers to obey the law and stop when school buses are loading and unloading students. We appreciate the support of the GTSC and we will continue to partner with law enforcement agencies statewide to ensure that our children have a safe ride to and from school."

On April 16, police from 108 agencies across 46 counties produced 1,186 tickets for passing a stopped school bus and 1,484 tickets for other moving violations during the single day of high visibility enforcement. New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1174 requires all motorists stop for any school bus that has stopped and engaged its red flashing lights to pick up or discharge students on all roadways, especially on divided highways and on school grounds.

"The goal of Operation Safe Stop is to reduce fatalities and personal injuries of school children through the use of high visibility enforcement with the secondary goal of educating motorists of the dangers of illegally passing stopped school buses," said Chuck DeWeese, Assistant Commissioner of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. "There are still far too many drivers illegally passing stopped school buses in our state, as the results of OSS enforcement day show. GTSC has identified passing a stopped school bus as a dangerous driving behavior and we will continue to support law enforcement's efforts statewide to curb drivers of this reckless behavior."

Margaret Ryan, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police said, "The law enforcement community is proud to be a part of this partnership and mobilization aimed at keeping our children and students safe in their travel to and from school. The alarming estimated number of violations occurring each day establishes the importance of increased law enforcement attention and support that extends well beyond this one-day campaign."

NYAPT Executive Director, Peter Mannella, said, "When parents send their children to school, they should not have to fear for their child's safety because of another motorist's careless behavior. This year's Operation Safe Stop Day results show that we have a problem with illegal passing of school buses. We urge motorists to use caution and be prepared to stop when students are boarding or disembarking school buses. One of those students could be a friend or a member of your family. Please STOP for the yellow school bus."

Motorists face significant fines if convicted of violating Section 1174. The monetary and 'points' penalties are among the highest for all traffic violations in the state. For example, a conviction of violating 1174 carries a potential five point penalty on an individual's driving record. Motorists who accumulate points on their license face a license suspension and the possibility of increased insurance premiums.

The fine structure is as follows:

First Offense$250 min - $400 max5up to 30 days
Second Offense$600 min - $750 max5up to 180 days
Third Offense$750 min - $1,000 max5up to 180 days

For more information on Operation Safe Stop, please contact the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee at 518-474-5111, or the New York Association for Pupil Transportation at 518-463-4937.


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