On This Page
- Putting Student Safety First
- Our Commitment to Safety – The Solution
- How to Behave Around School Buses
- Safety Tips for Children, Student Riders, and Parents
- Contact Information
In 2019, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) reported that its national survey revealed more than 17 million school bus stop-arm violations in the United States each year. Later that year, New York State enacted a student safety law authorizing school districts to install cameras on school buses in order to discourage drivers who unlawfully pass stopped school buses. Based on this NYS law, Monroe County has launched a School Bus Safety Program to improve student safety by reducing the illegal passing of school buses in our community.
At a Fall 2022 press event announcing the new Local Law, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced:
“The health and safety of all our neighbors, particularly our children, is my top priority – and this law (school bus safety program) will ensure our kids are safer as they walk to and from their school bus. I encourage all school districts throughout Monroe County to take advantage of this free program for their students. Thank you to my colleagues in the Monroe County Legislature for prioritizing our children’s safety.”
At the same press event, Dr. Casey Kosiorek, President of the Monroe County Council of Superintendents, stated:
“An average of 19 school-age passengers are killed getting on and off the bus each year across the nation — our students' safety is non-negotiable. The Monroe County Council of School Superintendents is grateful to County Executive Bello and the Monroe County Legislature for this new legislation (program) that will deter motorists from passing a stopped school bus.”
Every day 2.3 million children are transported by school buses throughout New York State. An estimated 50,000 drivers illegally pass stopped school buses in New York State on a single school day.*
Reducing school bus violations will significantly enhance student and school bus safety in Monroe County. The automated camera system serves as a deterrent and educational tool to motorists that may consider breaking the law by passing a stopped school bus that is receiving or discharging students.
While enforcement and education are both critical to changing behavior, current models and legal frameworks in most states require that police officers catch motorists in the act of unlawfully passing a school bus in order to issue a ticket. With roughly 560,000 school buses traveling more than 4 million miles of road and highway in America, older methods of enforcement are not enough to protect students while getting on and off buses.
The School Bus Safety Program will provide data to school officials to make informed decisions on school bus safety. The data from Safety Program may also be used by local law enforcement to add a physical presence near school bus stops with higher rates of infractions.
The School Bus Safety Program outfits school buses in Monroe County with the latest technology including stop-arm cameras, DVR and storage devices, internal cameras, GPS, telemetry and LTE connectivity – all at no cost to the school district.
When a school bus is stopped and its lights and stop-arm are activated, cameras capture incidents of vehicles illegally passing the bus. Through cloud computing, data is sent to Bus Patrol/Alertbus safety experts, who then review the footage and prepare evidence packages for Monroe County Department of Public Safety. 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. 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 into a school bus safety program and benefit from an advanced school bus safety suite deployed across their entire fleets at no cost to the schools, taxpayers or Monroe County. The violator-funded safety program handles the 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, each participating school district may choose to access cloud-connected internal cameras and Bus Patrol’s Alertbus platform for live streaming of video and emergency alerts.
In the run up to the program launch, Monroe County will work with BusPatrol to execute a community education and awareness campaign, including road signage, community announcements and warning letters. The overall program will begin with a warning period during which drivers who violate the law will receive warning notices. No fines will be issued during this warning period.
- Public knowledge and understanding of school bus safety laws
- Education campaigns on the “danger zone” and how violations can be fatal.
- 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 violations.
- Public assurance of the systems
- Data from programs in other states shows 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.
Stop-arm cameras identify violators by their 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 of the violation, the owner can seek reimbursement from the driver.
Under New York law a first-time stop-arm violation carries a fine of $250. Subsequent violations within eighteen month periods are subject to $25 increases up to a maximum of $300 per violation. Data from other safety programs demonstrates that 94% of first-time offenders do not receive a second ticket.
When a vehicle illegally passes a school bus while the stop-arm is deployed, BusPatrol's multi-lens camera box captures the violation and the car's license plates from different depths and angles. The footage, GPS, and timecode data are stored locally on an onboard digital video recorder (DVR) unique to each bus.
The data relating to the incident and violation is sent via an encrypted LTE network to BusPatrol's secure cloud system. BusPatrol's artificial intelligence software filters all footage received from each bus before it goes to one of the company’s safety specialists for review.
A BusPatrol safety specialist reviews the filtered footage. If they believe that the violation has occurred, the safety specialist prepares an evidence package for use by public safety specialists. The package is built in accordance with state law, complete with video footage, license plate number, make, model, registered owner information, GPS location, and a timestamp of the incident.
The evidence package is submitted to the public safety specialist via a secure cloud portal. The public safety specialist responsible for approving violations reviews the evidence package to determine if a violation has occurred. If confirmed, a ticket is mailed to the vehicle's owner, along with a link to the Bus Patrol's AlertBus Driver Education & Payment Portal, where the owner can view video evidence of their violation. The vehicle owner may make payment online or by U.S. Mail, and tickets may be contested through the local court where the violation occurred.
The primary focus of the School Bus Safety Program is public awareness and education. The program’s success is measured by the reduction of violations, not by the number of citations issued. Please review the information below regarding school bus safety and the "danger zone."
- Read New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law §1174-a(m)
- Read Senate Bill S4524B
- National Stop Arm Violation Count (NASDPTS)
- Reducing the Illegal Passing of School Buses (NHTSA)
- State School Bus Stop-Arm Camera Laws (NCSL)
- NTSB Releases Full Final Report of Fatal Indiana School Bus Crash
- DMV New York – School Bus Safety Laws
School buses have bigger blind spots, take longer to stop, and need more room to maneuver than standard vehicles. Buses should be treated differently than average-sized vehicles. Drivers need to know how to react to school buses in operation.
- Slow Down. School buses make frequent stops, so be patient and drive at a reasonable speed. Remember, school buses are required by law to stop at railroad crossings in addition to picking up and dropping off students.
- Be alert. Always be aware of children and parents 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.
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
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 for the purpose of loading or unloading children. Stop your vehicle and wait until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the driver or police officer to proceed.
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 arrives.
- 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 walking toward the door and 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 clothes with drawstrings and bags with straps are not 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.
- 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.
To speak to a representative about a stop-arm violation, contact the Bus Patrol/Alertbus Customer Contact Center at 1-877-504-7080.
The Contact Center is available Monday- Friday (8 AM – 5 PM). English, Spanish, and French-speaking, customer service agents are available to address your inquiries. Please have your Citation Number ready when you call to expedite our service.
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.