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Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Marcus J. Molinaro announced today Wendy Travis, of the Wappingers Central School District, has been named the winner of the 16th annual Dutchess County School Bus Driver of the Year Award, recognizing of her exemplary service and safety record. The award is part of the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s efforts to promote school bus safety and is given in conjunction with the launch of the annual Operation Safe Stop Project supported by the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
Operation Safe Stop Education Enforcement Day will be Thursday, April 27th, when state, county and local law enforcement agencies will shadow school buses to identify and ticket drivers who do not obey the flashing red lights on a stopped school bus. Law enforcement throughout the county will target enforcement efforts at what school transportation officials have identified as “hot spots,” where most violations typically occur.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The safety of our students is our paramount concern, and throughout Dutchess County, dedicated bus drivers in every school district share that responsibility, dutifully protecting our children on their way to and from school. Today, we thank those drivers who safeguard our students daily, and we remind all drivers to please stop when they see the flashing red lights of a school bus. That extra moment can save the life of a child.”
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; a motorist may also be assessed five points on his driver’s license, and penalties can include possible imprisonment (up to 30 days for first offense and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction).
Mrs. Travis, who has been employed by the Wappingers Central School District for 29 years, was presented this morning with a commemorative plaque and honored as the School Bus Driver of the Year at the Operation Safe Stop kickoff press conference at the Wappinger Central School District’s Fishkill Plains bus compound.
Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William C. Johnson said, “Mrs. Travis is a model driver who understands and embraces what it is to be a school bus driver – not just what it takes to drive a school bus. She has achieved an exceptional safety record over 29-plus years driving buses filled with students. Mrs. Travis’s contributions to the Wappingers district go way beyond her ability and passion to safely transport children. She is respected by supervisory staff and her peers, as well as the students and parents she has touched over the years.”
County Executive Molinaro said, “Parents entrust their children’s safety to school bus drivers each day, a great responsibility these men and women behind the wheel do not take lightly. This award reflects the community’s appreciation for their devotion to keeping our students safe. We commend Mrs. Travis for her superb safety record and thank her for her unwavering devotion to the children she transports every day.”
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 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 these highly trained professionals’ experience, skill and daily performance.
The Dutchess County School Bus Driver of the Year Award represents a collaborative partnership with the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the Mid-Hudson Transportation Supervisor’s Association the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board, and the Culinary Institute of America.
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.