Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Traffic Safety Board Administrator Bill Johnson remind county motorists to obey safety rules and precautions relating to school buses. The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board has provided monies for local law enforcements agencies across the county to participate in the Statewide “Operation Safe Stop” Campaign on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Our children’s safety is our utmost priority. The goal of Operation SAFE STOP is to remind drivers to demonstrate caution and obey the flashing red lights on a stopped school bus. We have provided financial support through the Traffic Safety Board to local law enforcement agencies to allow them to shadow school buses throughout the county to identify and ticket violators.”
Operation SAFE STOP seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. In New York State, 50,000 school buses are passed illegally everyday while loading or unloading students. Drivers need to take caution and be more aware of the flashing red lights of any stopped school bus. The law applies any time a bus’s red lights are flashing on all divided highways, private property, and school grounds. There are no exceptions or allowances made.
According to William C. Johnson, Administrator of the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board, New York State Vehicle and Traffic law requires drivers to stop from either direction, even on a divided highway. “The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to the dangers of passing a stopped school bus. This year, law enforcement agencies participating in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant can target a portion of their funding to dedicated patrols during Operation Safe Stop.”
Passing a school bus with its red lights on is not only dangerous, but it is illegal and punishable with fines ranging from $250 to $1,000. Five points may be assessed to one’s driver’s license, and penalties can also include possible imprisonment (up to 30 days for first offense and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction).
The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board is a coalition of law enforcement, education, health and service agencies and individuals committed to ensuring that our streets, sidewalks, and residents remain safe.