New York State lawmakers are close to a deal to allow municipalities to install cameras to catch and fine drivers who illegally pass school buses. The state Senate is poised to vote on the bill, which is expected to pass. The Assembly already passed a version of the bill, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed his support.
The bill would allow municipalities to install cameras on school buses. These cameras would photograph license plates of drivers who illegally pass school buses and send no-point fines to the registered vehicle owners. As the bill stands, the vehicle owner will be responsible for a $250 fine for a first offense, $275 for a second offense, and $300 for the third and subsequent offense.
These fines are notably lower than those who are caught illegally passing a school bus by police. An officer-issued ticket for VTL 1174-a costs between $250 and $400 for a first offense. A second offense within three years costs between $600 and $750, and a third offense costs between $750 and $1,000. And, each police-issued conviction results in 5 points on one’s license—nearly halfway to the 11-point threshold for a suspended license.
Towns and cities will not be obligated to install the cameras. However, those that do will need to erect signs indicating that school bus cameras are in effect.
Some municipalities are already gearing up. In March, East Meadow School District officials approved a pilot plan to install cameras on the district’s 60 school buses, anticipating the approval of the upcoming law. The 30-day program will not issue tickets. Instead, the footage will be reviewed to determine where and when the biggest risks occur.
The Governors Safety and Traffic Commission estimates that more than 50,000 drivers illegally pass school buses every day in New York. In April 2018, more than 850 drivers were ticketed statewide for illegally passing a school bus as part of Operation Safe Stop, a one-day police enforcement event focused on such infractions. State Police and local law enforcement also wrote 3,044 tickets for other traffic violations and made 89 arrests for offenses including driving while intoxicated and driving on a suspended license.
The heavy fines and points associated with illegally passing a school bus in New York make it a serious ticket. If you or someone you love has been ticketed for VTL 1174-a, contact an attorney right away. The attorneys at Rosenblum Law have the experience and skills to help reduce or avoid the fines and points associated with a ticket. Email us or call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.