Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is pleased to announce Mrs. Candace Swart is the winner of the 7th annual School Bus Driver of the Year Award. The annual award is part of the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s efforts to promote school bus safety. The award is given in conjunction with the launch of the annual Operation Safe Stop Project.
This year, Operation Safe Stop Education Enforcement Day will be Wednesday, April 2nd 2008. County Executive Steinhaus said, “Local law enforcement agencies across the county have been provided financial support through the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board to shadow school buses and identify and ticket drivers who do not obey the flashing red lights on a stopped school bus.”
“Our children’s safety is our utmost priority. Local police patrols will out on the roadways to be a visual reminder of the importance of stopping when the red lights are flashing on a school bus,” said Steinhaus.
According to Traffic Safety Administrator Bill Johnson, New York State Vehicle and Traffic law requires drivers to stop from either direction, even on a divided highway any time a school bus’s red lights are flashing. Passing a school bus with red lights 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).
Mrs. Candace Swart will be presented with a commemorative plaque and will be honored as the 2007 School Bus Driver of the Year Award at the Operation Safe Stop kickoff press conference on Monday, March 31st, 2008 at 10:00am at the New York State Police Troop K Headquarters in Poughkeepsie.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “This annual award recognizes a driver who has demonstrated professionalism and has outstanding safety records. It is our way of saying thank you for their commitment to our children’s safety and helps to increase public awareness regarding school bus safety issues.”
Mrs. Candace Swart has been an employee in the Webutuck Central School District for 31 years. She was selected due to her exemplary service and safety record, having driven in excess of 900,000 miles without an accident. According to Ms. Swart, she has made the safe transportation of the children of the Webutuck community her life’s work. She is a model bus driver who always keeps her eye on the safety of her children and is greatly respected by supervisory staff, her peers, and the students.
Operation Safe Stop and the School Bus Driver of the Year Award are sponsored by the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board and the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board is a coalition of law enforcement, education, health and service agencies and individuals appointed by the County Executive who are committed to ensuring our streets, sidewalks, and residents remain safe.