Over 300 citations for passing a stopped school bus have been issued in numerous school districts throughout Oneida County since June 12.
This issue has been covered in local media time and time again, yet officials continue sounding the alarm that stopped school busses continue to be passed by motorists on a daily basis.
The law is simple and clear: if a driver encounters a stopped school bus, with its stop-arm extended and lights flashing, they have to stop until it is clear to proceed, end of story, no exceptions.
With aims to catch drivers who violate this law, there are numerous school districts statewide, including right here in Oneida County, who opted into a program, passed via the state legislature in 2019, that installed stop-arm cameras on school bus fleets.
Once the stop-arm extends, the camera activates and captures any and all activity around the bus, including drivers who fail to stop.
14 citations have been issued within the Holland Patent School District and 33 in Rome. No data was provided via the Sheriff’s Office for Adirondack or any other local districts within the county.
Standing out in terms of statistics, Whitesboro School district has tallied up 100 citations thus far. Meanwhile, 51 have been issued in New Hartford and 42 in New York Mills.
"The number of school buses being passed in Oneida County is concerning as it puts the safety of the children at risk,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a released statement.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, under the law, the fine for passing a school bus ranges from $250 for a first violation, to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years.
Additionally, if a vehicle owner is convicted of three violations in three years, their driver’s license can be revoked for a minimum of six months.
NYS DMV image.