BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It has always been illegal to pass a school bus in either directions when the yellow or red lights are flashing, but it has always been hard to hold people accountable for blowing pass the stop signs.
The New York State Association of School Pupil Transportation estimated that 50,000 drivers throughout New York State illegally pass a stopped school bus every day.
"People need to be more aware of it and I think some people need to change the way they look at this situation," Bob Weselak," Director of Transportation for the Sweet Home School District said. "I think some people don't think it is as big as a safety issue as it really is."
Next week the School Bus Safety Stop-Arm Camera Legislation will go to a vote in the state senate. If passed and signed by Governor Cuomo, the bill would allow cameras on school buses to catch drivers blowing through the stop sign on the bus.
Weselak says the camera would be placed in the middle of the bus, then when a car drives by with the stop signs out and red lights flashing-- the camera will take a picture of the license plate and the person will be fined $250.
"There's a reason why we arm school buses with stop bars and red lights," Brian Kulpa, Amherst Town Supervisor said. "It takes it one step further and says 'look we are serious about this and we are going to enforce it."
The tax payer nor the school district will pay for the cameras. The independent camera companies will install the cameras on the buses for free and then get a portion of the fined money.
"I think that if you have that one more cushion of safety in place that parents may feel better about their children traveling on buses to school," Nicole Burroughs, a mom of two children of the Willamsville School District. She has been advocating school bus safety for years and says she supports this new legislation because it will hold drivers accountable.
"I think to myself I can't believe people can't wait the extra 45 seconds," Burroughs said. "I do think it has the potential to really make a great change across the board."
Weselak says if all goes right, the pilot program for the cameras could begin as early as September for the Sweet Home Central School District.