Passing a stopped school bus with the stop arm out will land you a fine of $250, but Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol tells us many of the offenders don’t even see the "stop" arm out.
"That little red stop sign that comes out on the bus means nothing to the person who’s got their head down texting and driving," Maciol said.
Distracted driving is one of the main causes of all traffic violations. New York State estimates thousands of school buses are illegally passed every day, so having cameras installed on school buses would help law enforcement catch many of these offenders.
"We’ve really got to focus all of law enforcements attention, when it comes to traffic enforcement, on distracted driving, because a lot of it, if not all of it comes right back to that," Maciol said. "Rear-end accidents, typically all of them now are caused by folks following too closely because they’re distracted because they’re doing something else inside the car."
While the cameras may help catch and convict offenders, the message coming out of Albany goes beyond that.
Exectuive Director of NY Council of School Superintendents Charles Dedrick is banking on these cameras to make children safer.
"If this bill gets passed, children will be safer on their way to and from school. That I guarantee," Dedrick said.
Installing cameras on school buses comes at a cost, but the legislation proposes the costs are expected to be recovered through fines collected from convictions. Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol is concerned about where the initial funding will come from, but believes whole-heartedly in the idea.
"If it saves one life, then in my position not only as the sheriff, but as a dad … if it saves one life, then you know what, that’s money well spent," Maciol said.
We’ll let you know if this proposed legislation becomes law.