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|Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro and Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William C. Johnson presented Janice Tito with the 18th annual Dutchess County School Bus Driver of the Year Award. From left, County Executive Molinaro, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Tito, Arlington Central School District Superintendent Brendan J. Lyons, and Mid-Hudson Transportation Supervisor’s Association President Ron Mackey.|
Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Marcus J. Molinaro announced today Janice Tito, of the Arlington Central School District, has been named the winner of the 18th annual Dutchess County School Bus Driver of the Year Award, recognizing 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 Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
Operation Safe Stop Education Enforcement Day is Thursday, May 2nd, 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, “Each day throughout Dutchess County, be it on multi-lane thoroughfares or back roads, school bus drivers take seriously a great responsibility: ensuring the safety of young students placed in their charge, on the way to and from school. Today, we honor Janice Tito for her dedication to protecting the students she transports, as well as the countless drivers like her who safeguard their passengers. We also remind all motorists they play a crucial role in protecting our students. When you see a school bus’ red lights flashing, please take the extra moment that could save a child’s life.”
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).
Ms. Tito, who has been employed by the Arlington Central School District for 25 years and has been accident-free, 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 Arlington High School in Lagrangeville.
Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William C. Johnson said, “Ms. Tito 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. A respected, dependable, and loved friend of administrators, staff, her peers and the students she has touched over the years. Her exceptional safety record and contributions to the Arlington Central School District go way beyond her ability and passion to safely transport 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 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.