“Reckless drivers who pass stopped school buses have imperiled the safety of our children and our entire community for far too long. By bringing this important public safety tool to Nassau County, we can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that drivers will be motivated to think twice before they break the law.”“Reckless drivers who pass stopped school buses have imperiled the safety of our children and our entire community for far too long. By bringing this important public safety tool to Nassau County, we can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that drivers will be motivated to think twice before they break the law.”
– Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton
In July, the Legislature took the final steps toward bringing school bus stop-arm cameras to Nassau County. The effort, which was initiated in 2019 by Legislators Siela A. Bynoe and Arnold W. Drucker, will clear the way for school districts to opt in to having cameras installed on the bus stop sign arm that swings out when a bus is stopped and lights are flashing. Those cameras will capture images of vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses when the stop arm is out and lights are flashing.
School districts must opt in to participate in the program. For the first 60 days after cameras are installed, drivers will be issued warnings instead of fines with hopes of motivating drivers to follow the law and avoid penalties. After the end of the warning period, fines are $250 for a first offense; $275 for a second offense within first 18 months of first violation; and $300 for third and subsequent violations within that 18-month window.
During Suffolk County’s 60-day warning period this past March and April, over 10,000 infractions were issued so this new program is clearly an important step in increasing pedestrian safety near stopped school buses.
As the ranking member of the Legislature’s Public Safety committee, Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton is particularly proud of the nearly two-year effort to bring stop arm cameras to school buses in Nassau County. While there is no cost to school districts to install cameras or manage the program, as mentioned above, it is an opt-in program. Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton urges parents to submit formal requests to their districts to opt in to this potentially life-saving program.