Editorial

School bus cameras will make students safer

Posted

On Aug. 6, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that will allow counties, cities, towns and villages throughout the state to outfit their school buses with cameras to catch motorists illegally driving past them while their stop signs are out.

With the school year kicking off, drivers should remember to stay at least 10 feet back from a bus and remain stopped until its red lights stop flashing. One careless driver can drastically alter a child’s life for the worse.

The Herald supports the new camera law, and we hope all school districts and bus companies in Nassau County have cameras mounted on buses in the near future. No parents should have to find out that their child was struck by a car while getting on or off a school bus.

The new law includes escalating fines for blowing through buses’ deployed stop signs: $250 for the first violation, $275 for a second violation within 18 months of the first, and $300 for each subsequent violation.

“No parent should ever have to worry that their child’s bus ride to and from school is anything other than safe and easy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By signing this measure into law, we are providing school districts the tools they need to hold reckless drivers accountable and advancing New York state’s bold initiatives to keep our school children safe.”

The law took effect on Sept. 5, and will stay in effect until Dec. 1, 2024. It will be up to local lawmakers and school district officials to work with private companies that will install these cameras.

If a vehicle passes a school bus with its stop arm outstretched — from either direction — the camera will snap a photo of the vehicle and its license plate in the act, the same way a red-light cameras does. The registered owner will receive a violation notice in the mail that includes the date and time of the incident, the vehicle’s registration number, the identification number of the camera and instructions for contesting the fine.