COLONIE — School’s open and that means school buses are on the road.
“It has been awhile, but once again, the familiar yellow school bus will be seen on our streets and roads picking up and dropping off school children, said Harold Nicholson, president of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation during a press conference at the South Colonie School District bus garage on Wednesday, Sept. 9. “We ask motorists to be especially mindful of the fact our school buses will be out in full force and we remind you that you must stop for stopped school buses with red lights flashing.”
Passing a stopped school bus that has light flashing can be costly. According to state Vehicle and Traffic Law, penalties for a first-time offense include a fine from $250 to $400, five points on your license and the possibility of 30 days in jail. A second conviction within three years will result in a $600 to $750 fine and up to 180 days in jail; while three or more convictions will result in a fine from $750 to $1,000, mandatory revocation of your driver’s license and up to 180 days in jail.
All vehicles to come to a full stop when approaching a school bus stopped with red lights flashing regardless of your direction of travel, or even if there is a multi-lane or divided highway.
New York Association of Pupil Transportation said there are some 2.3 million school children who ride school buses to and from school every day.
Sheriff Craig Apple said in New York state some 50,000 cars a day pass stopped school busses.
“We have not seen busses on the road since March and you are about to see the big yellow busses on the road. They are not hard to miss and we are begging you to slow down when you see a bus on the road,” he said. “This year, it’s a little different, because most of the people who travel on the busses this year are the little guys, our k-5s, our K-6s. Kids who have a tendency to wander off and not pay attention. We are asking drivers to pay attention and not be distracted, don’t look at your phone, don’t text, because if something happens and you hit one of those children you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.”
School districts have developed and implemented new cleaning and social distancing procedures, based on guidelines proved by the federal Center for Disease Control and state Department of Health.