School bus stop-arm cameras won't cost districts, tax payers

March 06, 2019 08:17 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) -- If Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets his way, school buses in New York state will soon be equipped with stop-arm cameras to catch drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

After years of consideration by state lawmakers, the measure made it into the 2019-2020 state budget proposal.


According to the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, an estimated 50,000 drivers illegally pass New York state school buses every day. 

The stop-arm cameras would not cost school districts or tax payers. Instead, private vendors installing and maintaining the technology would cover the cost. Vendors would be reimbursed with fines paid by drivers who illegally pass buses.

The stop-arm cameras capture the license plate of the violator. The vendor then sends the information to law enforcement, providing all the evidence needed to write a ticket. In most states that use the cameras, the fine is $250.

David Poirier, president of BusPatrol America, says there has been a significant drop in illegal passings in states where the cameras have been used.

"Ninety eight percent of people who get one of these civil citations don't get a second one," Poirier said. "They know that there are cameras on the buses, so they stop and it works."

Poirier has been meeting with schools, towns, and law enforcement in anticipation of the stop-arm camera proposal getting passed.

"Our goal is to make sure people respect school buses and they stop when school buses are stopped," Poirier said.

We will know as soon as April 1 whether the cameras made it into the final budget.


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