GREAT NECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A new state law would let school districts install cameras on their bus stop signs to catch drivers that don’t stop.
Sen. Chuck Schumer said many districts can’t afford to install the technology. On Tuesday, he called on the federal government to help with that cost, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Will school bus cameras save lives? A study on the feasibility of installing stop sign cameras sits parked in the federal bureaucracy, according to some lawmakers.
On a single day this past spring, New York law enforcement issued at least 600 tickets to motorists who illegally passed a stopped school bus. To protect our children, the new state law now permits cameras on bus arms when doors open, but many districts simply can’t afford to install them.
“It’s imperative that we get this up and running, as well as a large public education campaign,” said James Popkin of the New York State Association for School Transport, adding when asked about cost, “Yeah, the systems generally run about $2,000 for a complete camera system, which will have the stop-arm cameras on it and will also have cameras on the inside of the bus which will help bus operators with student behavior management issues.”
Schools have questions about bus camera effectiveness and cost, McLogan reported.
Schumer is calling for the release of a federal report that could increase school bus safety and is also pushing to get the feds to help fund local camera efforts.
“A few years back we ordered [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] to do a study to see if putting cameras on the sides of the buses would create greater safety for our kids. Safety of our kids is paramount. They have slow-walked the study,” Schumer said.
School administrators McLogan spoke to said installing cameras is not about tickets, but about the safety of children. That’s why they are urging a campaign blitz on the law.
When asked what he will do when he gets back to Washington to get this passed, Schumer told CBS2, “I am going to first put pressure on NHTSA — their budget is coming up — to finish their study. If they find that cameras would create a much safer situation there would be federal dollars from the highway safety funding to help pay for them. But we need that study to be done.”
It is hoped that drivers aware of cameras will change their behaviors and become educated about New York state law. Drivers must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multi-lane highways, and on school grounds.
The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus will cost drivers $250-$400, five points on the license, and possibly 30 days in jail.