In a move aimed at enhancing the safety of students in the Yonkers School District, the City has unveiled a new initiative to curb the illegal passing of school buses. The city partnered with Verra Mobility to deploy state-of-the-art camera technology on school buses, with the goal of catching and deterring drivers who disregard stop-arm signals.
In 2019, New York state passed a law to punish drivers for not stopping for school buses displaying a stop-arm. Then earlier this year, Westchester County authorized the cooperation and funding to install cameras on buses to catch these violators. On Wednesday, September 20th, the City of Yonkers announced its plans for these funds.
At the start, about 200 Yonkers school buses will be equipped with a solution known as, CrossingGuard(TM). The city plans to roll out to more buses in phases to ensure comprehensive coverage. By the end of the year, the district will have around 450 school buses equipped with these safety cameras.
This program ramps into action starting on Thursday, Oct. 12th, when it will issue warnings to registered vehicle owners for the first 30 days of the program. During this initial phase, the City will not issue any fines.
Penalties for poor driving
However, starting from Monday, Nov. 13th, registered vehicle owners whose vehicles are caught passing school buses with their stop-arms extended and lights flashing will receive Notices of Liability in the mail. The law imposes substantial fines for passing a stopped school bus. Penalties start at $250 for a first violation. But they increase to $275 for a second offense within 18 months, and $300 for each subsequent violation within the same period. However, the program’s organizers have clarified that registered vehicle owners who receive Notices of Liability will not face points on their driver’s licenses. No points means no negative impacts on their driving records. Additionally, their insurance companies will not be notified of these violations.
The primary objective of the “Yonkers Safe Stop” School Bus Safety Program is to protect the roughly 12,000 students who rely on buses for daily transportation to and from school. Mayor Mike Spano emphasized that the safety of Yonkers’ children is paramount.
Ensuring the safety of our children is our top priority. The partnership with Verra Mobility and the Yonkers School District is a testament to our commitment to their well-being, reminding us that every journey to knowledge should be a safe one.Mike Spano – Mayor of Yonkers
This bus safety program represents a step forward in protecting students in the Yonkers School District. By working with the County and leveraging new technology, the City sends a clear message that safety is a top priority. However, some still worry that the current punishments may not be enough of a deterrent.