The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) today released the results of a survey taken on December 15, 2016, to measure the incidence of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses. And the results simply cannot be ignored by government leaders, the media and the public.
In the 35 school districts that participated in the survey that day, 765 school bus drivers reported they were passed a total of 678 times, including 101 passes on the passenger (or right) side of the school bus. That represents a marked increase in the number of right side passes reported.
At that rate of passing when applied to over 50,000 school buses in New York State, the total estimated illegal passing rate is 44,314 passes for that day. That same calculation would mean that, of that amount, 6,601 motorists would have passed school buses on the RIGHT side of the bus that day.
This compares with the October 2016 “Count Day” on which NYAPT estimated that 40,654 motorists passed stopped school buses, including 1,479 ‘right side’ passes. During the 2015-2016 school year, NYAPT conducted a similar “Count Day” program and averaged 29,533 illegal passes per day, including a high of 36,857 in May 2016. October and November 2016 mark the first times that the survey has topped the 40,000 mark.
NYAPT President, Lori Ann Savino (Jericho Public Schools), noted that “This month’s rise in the level of ‘right side’ passes is a very serious concern to us. That right side of the school bus is used by our children to board and depart the school bus. They are moving supposedly within the protection of the bus. When a motorist comes up along the right side of the bus, they are creating a high risk situation and endangering the children. This trend is deeply upsetting to us and to every school bus driver in our state.”
NYAPT Executive Director, Peter Mannella, noted: “These numbers continue to rise and this year’s levels are higher than last year’s levels. We need parents and our school partners to help us to increase awareness of the rules of the road or we are going to face a tragedy. We call on the Governor, the state agencies and the state legislature to adopt this issue as a problem we must address together. It’s an easy message: STOP FOR THE SCHOOL BUS! It’s all for the safety of our children!”
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