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Police crack down on drivers passing stopped buses

By ANNA MEILER

MARCY, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Police all over New York spent Thursday cracking down on drivers passing by stopped school buses, which is becoming an increasing problem with cell phone distractions.

In Marcy, an Oneida Deputy Sheriff closely followed a bus full of kids as it dropped them off from the elementary school. It's one of 50,000 buses transporting students in New York every day.

"On a daily basis they average 50,000 cars pass stopped school buses a day in the state of New York," said Michael Klenotiz, assistant transportation supervisor in Whitesboro.

That means on average each bus could be passed once a day, creating a dangerous situation for kids.

"In the past five years, there were 130 students injured by passing motorists," said Klenotiz.

Police say it's mostly because people are increasingly distracted while driving.

"Let's be honest, no one goes out in the morning and says I'm going to find a bus and pass it. It doesn't happen. It's because they're preoccupied with something else and again we want to stress to people- give yourself enough time, take that extra couple minutes. Do all that you can to keep yourself safe and at the same time you're keeping everyone else safe on the road," said Sheriff Rob Maciol of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department.

Police making this a priority is giving parents peace of mind.

"It's extremely important, more than anything. My children are everything," said Julie Giruzzi-Mosca, a parent whose childrent take the bus.

While today is Operation Safe Stop, the principal at Marcy Elementary hopes this will remind drivers to be safe every day.

"I do believe after a day like this people will be more aware," said Kim Newton, principal of Marcy Elementary School.

If you get caught, you could get 5 points on your license, up to a $400 fine, and even up to 30 days in jail for a first offense.

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