WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Police will be conducting "Operation Safe Stop" in Cortlandt and Somers on Thursday as part of a statewide crackdown on motorists who pass school buses that have stopped to pick up or discharge students.
Under New York State law, it is illegal for motorists to drive around stopped school buses that have activated their flashing red lights. Fines for a first offense range from $250 to $400.
"Motorists who illegally drive around a stopped school bus are putting the lives of children at risk,” Westchester Public Safety Commissioner George N. Longworth said. “While we enforce this law throughout the school year, we are pleased to participate in Operation Safe Stop to remind the public of the deadly consequences that can occur when drivers violate the law.”
Operation Safe Stop is supported by the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the state Education Department, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, the New York State School Bus Contractors Association, and state, county and local law enforcement.
Longworth said county police will be paying attention to locations where school bus drivers have reported encountering drivers who disobeyed the law.
The following is the law:
- It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing red lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students.
- Drivers must stop whether they are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.
- Drivers must stop for flashing red lights even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.
- In addition to a fine, first-time offenders receive five points on their license and can even potentially face up to 30 days in jail.
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