(WEST WINDSOR, NY) Broome County Executive Jason Garnar announced today plans to outfit school bus in Broome County with stop-arm cameras to catch drivers illegally passing school buses. Garnar made the announcement during National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 21-25).
The first step in moving this process forward in Broome County was getting a local law passed by the Broome County Legislature. The law was passed in the October session. The local law allows for the creation of a demonstration program for stop-arm cameras on school buses in Broome County.
“Keeping our kids safe is the most important thing we can do in Broome County,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “I’m excited to be working with all our school districts to take this next step and hold the people who are endangering our children accountable.”
"Keeping our kids safe as they travel to and from school is extremely important. This new program will take an important step forward in improving their safety," said Chairman Dan J. Reynolds. "This local law will help law enforcement hold reckless drivers accountable and make our local school districts' transportation systems safer for students."
State transportation officials estimate that motorists illegally pass stopped school buses tens of thousands of times every day in New York. In August Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a into law that will allow cameras to be attached to stop-arms that extend from school buses. Violators face fines of $250 per violation, with higher fines for repeat offenders. Motorists caught on camera breaking the law would not get points on their driver’s license or be penalized by their insurance company. The law authorizes school districts to enter into agreements with municipalities for the installation and use of school bus violation monitoring systems.
The cameras will be mounted on the stop sign that extends outward and whenever a bus is stopped, they will automatically record any vehicle that passes by illegally.
“This program is a great example of how partnerships between districts and our area leaders can help enhance the safety of our children. I’m grateful for the work of the county to make this opportunity a reality,” said Dr. Jason Andrews, Superintendent of the Windsor Central School District.
“This is a no brainer,” said Garnar. “Not only will it serve as an educational tool for motorists, but the equipment will pay for itself with the money collected in fines. Thank you to the Broome County legislature for passing this law unanimously and helping us take the first step.”
Broome Security will be overseeing Broome County’s program and the department is in the preliminary stages of researching potential vendors which the county could contract with to obtain the cameras and necessary hardware for the districts.
“Establishing the owner responsibility program in Broome County is yet another tool for local law enforcement to utilize in holding those accountable who recklessly and illegally pass a stopped school bus displaying a red visual stop arm signal,” said Director of Broome County Security James Dadamio. “Enhancing the safety of students getting on and off of a school bus throughout the Broome County School Districts requires this type of partnership and I look forward in working together with our community leaders on this important program.”
Broome County officials have contacted every school district within the county as well as Broome-Tioga BOCES and has generated interest from most districts in partnering with the county for its demonstration program for the stop-arm cameras.