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State senator pushes for school bus stop-arm cameras

School bus stop-arm.jpg

ALBANY (WRGB) - New York State Senator Catharine Young is pushing for the passage of a bill aimed at keeping children on school buses safe, while cracking down on drivers who illegally pass stopped buses.

It's know as Senate Bill 518-B, or the "School Bus Camera Safety Act".

It would allow school districts or bus companies to install cameras on the stop-arms on school buses. They would detect and record the vehicles that pass buses that are stopped with their stop sign out and red flashing lights on. The bill would allow evidence taken from the cameras to be used in issuing tickets to violators. The driver would face a $250 fine. The bill does not make it mandatory to add cameras, but the lawmakers say they feel confident most districts will use them if allowed.

Police say studies show $50,000 drivers, statewide, illegally pass stopped school buses daily. Many are right-side passes, which is where kids are getting on and off the bus.

"All we want to do is make sure people understand there are children on that bus who are getting out and you're putting them in harms way." Assemblyman William Magnarelli said. "If nothing else, we're gonna grab their attention with this bill."

Senator Young and Assemblyman Magnarelli say the School Bus Camera Safety Act has passed in the transportation committee before. But it's faced roadblocks because of overall reluctance to use cameras to enforce laws.

Fifteen other states have laws that allow these cameras.

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