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Suffolk County School Bus Safety Program

stop sign off of a school bus

Putting Student Safety First

Keep Kids Safe: It’s the Law in New York State

In 2019, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) released data from their annual national survey indicating that more than 17 million stop-arm violations occur in the United States each year. Our County’s goal is to reduce the illegal passing of school buses, which will significantly contribute to student safety in Suffolk.

On August 6, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.4524B/A.4950B) authorizing school districts to install stop-arm cameras on school buses in order to catch drivers who unlawfully pass a stopped school bus and ensure the safety of New York's students. This measure was a key component of Governor Cuomo's Justice Agenda.

“No parent should ever have to worry that their child’s bus ride to and from school is anything other than safe and easy. By signing this measure into law, we are providing school districts with the tools they need to hold reckless drivers accountable and advancing New York State’s bold initiatives to keep our school children safe.”

New York State, Governor, Andrew Cuomo


Every day 2.3 million children are transported by school buses throughout New York State. Data has shown that on a single school day, an estimated 50,000 drivers throughout the State illegally pass stopped school buses.*

In New York, a one-month study of 10 buses in East Meadow was conducted in 2019. Cameras recorded 615 illegal Stop-Arm passes, or roughly 2.3 per bus, per day. This represents three times more than the number of tickets given out by Nassau & Suffolk counties during the entire 2018-2019 school year. Using the pilot project violation rate in modeling, children in Suffolk County are threatened by up to 8,100 violations per day or 1.4 million per school year.

With schools moving from in-person to hybrid to remote learning education, motorists need to be reminded more than ever about the laws pertaining to school bus safety.

*https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/operation-safe-stop


Reducing school bus stop-arm violations running will significantly contribute to student safety and school bus safety in and around Suffolk County. The automated camera system serves as a deterrent and education tool to motorists that may consider breaking the law and passing a stopped school bus.

While enforcement and education are critical in helping to change behavior, current models and legal frameworks in most states require that police officers catch motorists in the act of passing a school bus while its stop-arm is down to issue a ticket. But with roughly 560,000 school buses traveling across more than 4 million miles of road and highway in America, conventional methods are not enough to effectively enforce the law to control stop-arm violations across the country. In addition, it permits local law enforcement officers to focus their energies on other high priority tasks.

Moreover, the School Bus Stop Arm Safety Program will provide data to city and school officials to make informed decisions on school bus safety stops. The stop-arm violation data can also be leveraged by local law enforcement to add a physical presence to school bus stops with higher rates of infractions.


Our Commitment to Safety - The Solution

The School Bus Stop-Arm Safety Program outfits Suffolk County’s school bus fleets with the latest stop-arm safety technology including stop-arm cameras, DVR and storage devices, internal cameras, GPS, telemetry and LTE connectivity.

When a school bus is stopped and its lights and stop-arm are activated, stop-arm cameras capture incidents involving vehicles illegally passing the bus. Through cloud computing, data is sent to Alertbus safety experts, who then review the footage and prepare evidence packages for law enforcement.


Entire school bus fleets will be outfitted with the latest stop-arm safety technology; including stop-arm cameras, DVR and storage devices, internal cameras, GPS, telemetry and LTE connectivity.

In addition to this cutting-edge technology, the enforcement program is powered by software and processes, and overseen by experienced safety professionals who coordinate with police, local officials and school districts.

When a school bus is stopped and its lights and stop-arm are activated, stop-arm cameras capture incidents involving vehicles illegally passing the bus. Through cloud computing, data is sent to trained safety experts, who then review the footage and prepare evidence packages for law enforcement.

By coupling technology-based enforcement with education and public safety campaigns, motorists learn how to adjust their behavior around school buses and children.


All school districts can opt-in to the Suffolk County program and benefit from an advanced school bus safety suite deployed across their entire fleets at no cost to the schools, taxpayers or County. The violator-funded safety program handles the procurement, installation, management and maintenance of the safety technology. In addition to a targeted effort to reduce the illegal passing of school buses in the community, the school district will benefit from access to cloud-connected internal cameras and BusPatrol’s Alertbus platform for live streaming of video and emergency alerts.

  • Amagansett UFSD
  • Amagansett UFSD
  • Amityville UFSD
  • Babylon UFSD
  • Bay Shore UFSD
  • Bayport-Blue Point UFSD
  • Brentwood UFSD
  • Bridgehampton UFSD
  • Center Moriches UFSD
  • Central Islip UFSD
  • Commack UFSD
  • Comsewogue UFSD
  • Copiague UFSD
  • Deer Park UFSD
  • East Hampton UFSD
  • East Islip UFSD
  • East Moriches UFSD
  • East Quogue UFSD
  • Eastern Suffolk BOCES
  • Eastport-South Manor CSD
  • Elwood UFSD
  • Fire Island UFSD
  • Greenport UFSD
  • Half Hollow Hills CSD
  • Hampton Bays UFSD
  • Hauppauge UFSD
  • Huntington UFSD
  • Kings Park CSD
  • Lindenhurst UFSD
  • Longwood CSD
  • Mattituck-Cutchogue UFSD
  • Middle Country CSD
  • Miller Place UFSD
  • Mt. Sinai UFSD
  • North Babylon UFSD
  • Northport-East Northport
  • New Suffolk Common Scho
  • Oysterponds UFSD
  • Patchogue-Medford UFSD
  • Port Jefferson UFSD
  • Quogue SD
  • Remsenburg-Speonk UFSD
  • Riverhead CSD
  • Rocky Point UFSD
  • Sachem CSD
  • Sag Harbor UFSD
  • Sagaponack CSD
  • Sayville UFSD
  • Shelter Island UFSD
  • Shoreham-Wading River CSD
  • Smithtown CSD
  • South Country CSD
  • South Huntington UFSD
  • Southampton UFSD
  • Southold UFSD
  • Springs UFSD
  • Three Village UFSD
  • Tuckahoe CSD
  • Wainscott CSD
  • West Babylon UFSD
  • West Islip UFSD
  • Westhampton Beach UFSD
  • William Floyd UFSD
  • Wyandanch UFSD
  • WS BOCES

  1. Public knowledge and understanding of school bus safety laws
    • Education campaigns on the “danger zone” and how stop-arm violations can be fatal.
  2. Public awareness of the systems in place to deter motorists from illegally passing school buses.
    • Public safety announcements (PSAs) and campaigns to educate the public that school buses are equipped with technology to record stop-arm violations.
  3. Public assurance of the systems
    • Data from programs in other states shows that 98% of first-time offenders do not receive a second ticket, and that 95% of drivers do not contest their ticket after seeing video evidence of their violation.

diagram showing camera on school bus taking a picture of a car
Stop-arm cameras identify illegal passers
example of a ticket for violating the program
Tickets are issued to a vehicle's owner

1st violation: $250

Subsequent: Up to $300

headset with description of toll-free calling
Programs toll free number available to offenders

Stop-arm cameras identify illegal passers by license plate number. Tickets are issued to a vehicle’s registered owner, unless the automobile is proven stolen during the time of the offense. If someone other than the vehicle’s owner was driving at the time, the owner can request a transfer of liability.

In most states, a first-time stop-arm violation carries a fine of $250. In New York state, subsequent violations within an eighteen month period are subject to a $25 increase in penalty, up to a maximum of $300.

In addition to the financial deterrent, violators learn about the potential dangers of their actions. Offenders can call the program's toll free number and speak with a representative, who can review the video evidence with them and help them understand the dangers of illegal passing. Services are offered in both English and Spanish.

Data from other safety programs demonstrates that 94% of first-time offenders do not receive a second ticket, and that 95% of drivers do not contest their ticket after seeing video evidence of their violation.

 

BP-Citation-Management-Workflow-CC.jpg[56]

The diagram above is a representation of the camera systems used in the County

BusPatrol’s leading stop-arm enforcement program is built on a robust, guided, and secure process.

When a vehicle illegally passes a school bus while the stop-arm is deployed, BusPatrol’s multi-lens camera box captures the violation and car’s license plates from different depths and angles. The footage, along with GPS and timecode data, is stored locally on an onboard digital video recorder (DVR) unique to each bus.

The data related to the incident and violation is sent via an encrypted LTE network to BusPatrol’s secure cloud system. BusPatrol’s artificial intelligence (AI) software filters all footage received from each bus before it goes to one of our safety specialists for review.

A BusPatrol safety specialist reviews the filtered footage. If they determine that the violation is indeed an offence, the specialist prepares an evidence package for use by law enforcement. The package is built in accordance with state law, complete with video footage, license plate number, make, model, driver information, GPS location, and a timestamp of the incident.

The evidence package is then submitted to law enforcement via a secure cloud portal. Law enforcement reviews the evidence package to approve citation. If approved, a ticket is mailed to the vehicle’s owner, along with a link to Alertbus’ Driver Education & Payment Portal, where they can view video evidence of their violation. The vehicle owner makes their payment online, through the mail, or in person in the municipal jurisdiction – tickets can also be contested through the relevant jurisdiction’s civil court system.

The primary focus of the School Bus Stop-Arm Safety Program is public awareness and education. The success of the program is measured in the reduction of stop-arm violations over time and not by the number of vehicles caught violating the law. Please review the information regarding school bus safety and the “danger zone” below.


How to Behave Around School Buses in NY

Information from the DMV of NY

School Buses are Unlike Other Vehicles

School buses have bigger blind spots, take longer to stop, and need more room to maneuver than a standard vehicle. Buses should be treated differently than you would treat an average-sized vehicle. It is important for drivers to know how to react to a school bus in operation.

When you encounter a school bus:

  • Slow down. School buses make frequent stops, so be patient and drive at a reasonable speed. Remember, in addition to picking up and dropping off students, school buses are required by law to stop at railroad crossings.
  • Be alert. Always be aware of children and parents that may be waiting at a school bus stop or perhaps running to catch the bus before it departs.
  • Come to a complete stop at least 20 feet away from the bus.
  • Be extra careful to look around before moving your vehicle, as children may be walking in front of, behind, or on the side of school buses. Check for pedestrians - especially near schools, bus stops, playgrounds, parks, and behind parked cars.

Right of Way

When a school bus stops and flashes its red lights, traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus:

  • on a two-lane road
  • on multi-lane highways
  • on divided highways

Share the Road

Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle.

Red flashing lights mean the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Stop your vehicle and wait until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the driver or police officer to proceed.

Safety Tips for Children, Student Riders, and Parents

Parents: You should discuss transportation conduct and safety rules with your children and share the safety tips below.

  • Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
  • When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb, and wait away from the street
  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay, before stepping onto the bus
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (ten feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
  • Use the handrails to avoid falling. Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors
  • Never walk behind the bus
  • After you get off the bus, walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you
  • Students can only board and disembark at their designated stop
Important safety tips for children to learn and remember
  • Check before you step
  • I see the driver, the driver sees me
  • Wait for the driver's signal to cross
  • Look left, right, and left again
  • Use a backpack or book bag to avoid dropping things
  • Horn means danger

Contact Information

The following information is provided for assistance:

To speak to a representative about a stop-arm violation contact, the Alertbus Customer Contact Center at 1-877-504-7080.

The Contact Center is available Monday to Friday (8 AM – 5 PM). English, Spanish and French speaking customer service agents are available to address your inquiries. To expedite our service to you, please have your Citation Number ready when you call.

To view the violation video evidence online or to pay a violation by credit card, visit www.alertbus.com and enter the following information: Your citation number (example: NY-777777), and vehicle license plate number (no dashes or spaces), as listed on your citation.

All payments must be sent to the above listed payment center.

The County does not accept payments at any location.

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901