HUDSON VALLEY – Most school districts in the Hudson Valley begin the 2022-2023 academic year next week. As a result, school buses will be returning to the roadways, causing minor delays as students are picked up and dropped off.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee reports that in New York State, 2.3 million children are transported by more than 50,000 school buses annually.
It is illegal for drivers to pass a school bus that is stopped for the purpose of picking up or dropping off passengers, when the red lights are flashing, regardless of the direction of approach.
When a school bus stops and flashes its red lights, traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus:
- on a two-lane road
- on multi-lane highways
- on divided highways
There are legal and financial consequences for vehicle operators who pass a school bus while it is stopped for the purpose of dropping off or picking up passengers and red lights on the school bus are flashing.
- First conviction – fine of $250-$400 and/or up to 30 days in jail
- Second conviction within 3 years – fine of $600-$750 and/or up to 180 days in jail
- Third conviction (or more) within 3 years – fine of $750-$1000 and/or up to 180 days in jail
Five points will be added to the operator’s driving record for each conviction.
A 2019 state law authorizes school districts and municipalities to use stop-arm cameras on school buses to impose penalties on the owners of vehicles that pass a school bus while it is stopped for the purpose of dropping off or picking up passengers and red lights on the school bus are flashing.
- First violation – penalty of $250
- Second violation within 18 months – penalty of $275
- Third violation (or more) within 18 months – penalty of $300