News Release

April 17, 2013      

For Further Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000
E-mail: cpillus@dutchessny.gov

2013 School Bus Driver of the Year Award
Operation Safe Stop Underway Tomorrow

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Marcus J. Molinaro is pleased to announce Mrs. Deanna Lear of the Arlington Central School District has been named as the winner of the 12th annual School Bus Driver of the Year Award in recognition of her exemplary service and safety record. 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 is Thursday, April 18th, 2013. Local law enforcement agencies across the state will be shadowing school buses to identify and ticket drivers who do not obey the flashing red lights on a stopped school bus.

2013 School Bus Driver of the Year“Every day, parents put their children on school buses and trust the bus driver to get their children to school and back home safely. Bus drivers have a tremendous responsibility to protect our children and so do all of us as motorists. When the yellow lights are flashing, slow down. When the red lights on the school bus are flashing, you must stop. There is no excuse for risking a child’s safety by passing a stopped school bus,” said County Executive Molinaro.

Law enforcement throughout Dutchess County will target enforcement efforts at what school transportation officials have identified as “hot spots” were most violations typically occur.

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. Deanna Lear was presented with a commemorative plaque and honored as the School Bus Driver of the Year at the Operation Safe Stop kickoff press conference at the Arlington High School, Rt. 55 this morning.  Mrs. Lear has been employed in the Arlington District for twenty years. According to Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William C. Johnson, “Mrs. Lear is a model driver who always keeps her eye on the safety of her students.  In more than twenty years driving buses loaded with students, she has had NO accidents; an exceptional achievement.   Mrs. Lear is respected by supervisory staff, her peers and the many students and parents she has touched over the years.”

County Executive Molinaro noted, “The School Bus Driver of the Year award is a way for our community to say thank you for bus drivers’ commitment to our children’s safety. We congratulate Mrs. Lear on her impressive safety record and thank her for her continued dedication to children.”

The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s School Bus Driver of the Year award seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. The annual award was initiated in 2002 to increase public awareness regarding school bus safety issues and to recognize school bus drivers who to get children to and from school safely on a daily basis.  School bus drivers are an integral part of the safe transportation of school children. Crashes and related injuries are prevented by the experience, skill, and daily performance of these highly trained professionals.

“The annual School Bus Driver of the Year award is a great opportunity to remind motorists that our children’s safety is our utmost priority, so make sure you stop when you see the red flashing lights of a school bus,” said County Executive Molinaro.“

The School Bus Driver of the Year Award is a collaborative partnership with the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the Mid Hudson Transportation Supervisor’s Association.

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.

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    Last Updated: 4/17/2013