Broome County Director of the Office of Emergency Services, Patrick Dewing says motorists continue to pass stopped school buses taking on and discharging passengers at an alarming rate.

Dewing says in March, 286 drivers were caught illegally passing stopped school buses with their vehicle information caught on film through the county’s new stop arm camera program.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Bob Joseph/WNBF News

While most would assume violations have been happening on divided highways like the Vestal Parkway, Dewing says the majority of violations, many of them blatant, have been on residential streets.

The total number of violations for the school year is now at 1,928.

Cameras are mounted in a box below the stop arm recording above and below views, capturing images of passing vehicles and their license plates.  A third camera is mounted on the top rear area of the bus to record an overview of the scene.

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While there are some technical glitches and an occasional case of mistaken identity, the evidence from the cameras is pretty clear.  When a notice of violation liability is received by a vehicle owner, they can log on to a verification website and see the vehicle and license plate photos, a map of the incident site and a ten-second video of the violation.

Fines set by New York State start at 250-dollars for a first-time offense.

You can hear more about the operations of the Office of Emergency Services, the work of 911 dispatchers, the challenges met (and still being met) by the department in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,  and the school bus stop arm program on the podcast from Dewing’s appearance on Southern Tier Close Up on April 2nd on WNBF.

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