The Democratic-led state Senate on Wednesday gave final passage to a bill that would create a program for cameras on school buses.
The measure, previously approved this month by the Democratic-controlled Assembly, now heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk. He is expected to approve it.
The bill would lead to a statewide program for cameras mounted on buses, either on the vehicle itself or the arms of retractable stop signs, in order to catch drivers who attempt to pass the bus while children are getting off or on.
“Those that violate the law are finally held accountable,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We have an enforcement measure now in place that those who disregard not only the law, but the safety of our children, are accountable.”
Supporters of the legislation say it addresses the estimated 50,000 or so vehicles that pass school buses everyday. Kennedy called the issue “an epidemic.”
“While that sounds like an outrageous number, almost too large to be true, study after study shows it may be an even higher number,” he said.
The program will be paid for with revenue generated by tickets issued to drivers and would take effect in time for the 2019-20 school year.
The bill was among a package of measures approved Wednesday in the state Senate meant to address safety on roads and waterways.
“We will improve the safety on New York’s roads and waterways,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “This is about saving lives — for students, for pedestrians, for motorists, for boaters.”
One bill would require anyone over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt in the backseat of a car. The measure is yet to be approved in the Assembly.
“We need to make sure that we’re sending a message,” said Sen. David Carlucci, the bill’s sponsor. “We know this will save lives.”
Lawmakers in the chamber also approved bills met to strengthen school bus safety and the display of bus driver credentials.