April 2, 2008 03:54 PM EDT
GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) - -
The Western Chapter of the New York Association of Pupil Transportation announced that today, April 2, 2008 has been designated as OPERATION SAFE STOP DAY. Throughout the day the New York State Police in conjunction with numerous local police agencies will follow school buses throughout the area looking for motorists who illegally pass or overtake a stopped school bus. Law enforcement officers throughout the area will be strictly enforcing this vehicle and traffic law.
Everyday in New York State, over 2.3 million children are transported to and from school on school buses. The Western Chapter of the New York Association estimates that some 50, 000 motorists will illegally pass a stopped school bus on any given day of the school year. "Motorists need to realize that having a driver's license is a privilege, and along with that privilege are the laws they must follow. It is an ongoing effort to make the public aware of Section 1174 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law which states that it is illegal to pass or overtake a school bus that is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers," stated Kim Sobczak, President of the Western Chapter of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation and Transportation Supervisor of the Holland Central School District.
New York State Police Captain Dan Lyons, spoke at the press conference and stated, " The goal of this important highway safety initiative is to ensure the safety of our school children while loading and unloading school buses. We know that multi-agency participation; vigorous traffic law enforcement and media coverage of our efforts are proven highway safety strategies. Troopers, deputies and local police officers will be following school buses while their red lights are flashing. Passing a stopped school bus is a violation of Section1174 of the NYS vehicle and traffic law. Motorists can face fines up to $400, 5 points on their license and up to 30 days in jail for their 1st offense and increased fines and jail time for subsequent convictions. Last year, Operation Safe Stop resulted in 1, 035 motorists being cited for passing a stopped school bus."
Numerous law enforcement agencies and officials gathered today at Sidway Elementary School in Grand Island to support this important initiative. Those in attendance included Grand Island School Superintendent Robert Christmann, members from the Erie County Sheriff's Office, Town of Tonawanda Police Department, Town of Grand Island Police Department, Amherst Police Department, Cheektowaga Police Department, Village of Kenmore Police Department and Town of Hamburg Police Department and Mrs. Jennifer Stehlar, Mrs. New York American Beauty 2008.