In an effort to combat the issue of drivers illegally passing stopped school buses, Dutchess County has entered into a partnership with a service called 'BusPatrol' and initiated a new school bus safety program.

This partnership, which will include more than 1,000 school buses across Dutchess County, will give the buses access to advanced safety technology that includes stop-arm cameras, cloud-managed 360-degree safety cameras, emergency response solutions for immediate response, GPS, routing, and telemetry solutions.  All of these measures within the program will help enforce traffic laws and educate motorists on the dangers of passing a school bus.

The technology itself, along with installation and maintenance of all hardware and software of the BusPatrol program, comes at zero cost to local taxpayers and is entirely funded by violators of school bus traffic laws.

Information provided by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee indicates that an estimated 50,000 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses every single day across the state.

Within Dutchess County, the Pine Plains Central School District is the first to integrate the program across their entire fleet of school buses, a total of 38.  Effective this week, a motorist that illegally passes a stopped Pine Plains school bus that is equipped with these cameras will receive a warning.  This goes until January 12, 2022, and beginning on January 13th, drivers who illegally pass will receive a citation fine in the mail.

The Superintendent of Pine Plains School District, Dr. Martin Handler, had the following to say regarding the program:

Our safety programs are helping to promote a safer driving culture across the state of New York. We want to create a reflex in drivers, so that every time they see a big yellow bus on the road, they slow down and prepare to stop. That simple action could help save the life of a child.

In his announcement about the program, County Executive Marc Molinaro shared that Dutchess County 'will not tolerate such reckless conduct' when it comes to drivers passing stopped school busses, and the partnership with BusPatrol further assists with keeping students safe.

There are a number of other local districts that are expected to partner with the BusPatrol program in early 2022.

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