ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new report from the New York State Association of Pupil Transportation reveals stopped school buses were passed illegally, statewide, an estimated 44,000 times on one day alone.
“It ought to be simple and it is kind of mind boggling that it is not,” said Peter Mannella, director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation.
Mannella calls the data disturbing.
“That makes us all feel that something is happening and we’re going to have a serious injury or a fatality with a child involved,” said Mannella.
More than 700 bus drivers from 35 school districts were surveyed. They reported their bus was illegally passed a total of 678 times. Of that number, 101 passes happened on the right side of buses where students are getting on and off.
“One-hundred one children that could possibly be injured or killed,” said Cindy Jurewicz, Bethlehem Central School District director of transportation.
“We can write a report and give it to DMV but we don’t see those folks face-to-face,” said Jurewicz.
“It is infuriating. It is scary to think that you can send your children out to wait for the bus or potentially getting off the bus in the afternoon and they have to worry about people blatantly disobeying the law," said Jenny Brannon, a concerned parent.
A conviction could mean five points on an offender’s license plus a $250 fine. The Association for Pupil Transportation wants those penalties enforced strictly. They’d also like to see dashboard cameras on school buses to help catch offenders. For now, they’re pleading drivers to simply obey the law.
“These are our children and if we can’t stop for them, I’m not sure where we’re headed,” said Mannella.