Motorists reminded to stop for school buses

April 29, 2010 5:42:14 AM PDT
Eyewitness News cameras captured several cars passing right by a stopped school bus.Those motorists were breaking the law as they passed by.

It's a sight more and more parents say they see each day.

"More than I could possibly remember. Far more violations than observations," parent Mark Stone said.

"I would say it happens pretty regularly in New York," parent Abby Sigal said.

The law is simple: When a school bus is stopped with its stop signs extended and lights flashing, motorists are required to stop in both directions.

On the Upper West Side, Eyewitness News found motorists routinely breaking the law at Central Park West and West End Avenue.

"I think that it's probably really bad, and they're probably only doing it because police don't patrol here that often," school bus passenger Miranda Stone said.

The NYPD does issue summonses for the offense.

There were 1,834 citywide this year, as of Monday, issued to motorists who did not stop for school buses.

One parent pointed out that some drivers thought that the law is meant for country roads or small suburban streets only, but that is not the case.

The statewide penalty is $250 for a first violation and then up to a $1,000 fine for three violations within three years. That can also lead to losing one's license for at least six months.

There is even a form, available online, for anyone to report a violation.

Grant Tolson says his family does not focus on the actions of motorists.

"It really isn't a big deal for me if cars are going by the school bus," he said. "Because in the suburbs, maybe, it is if kids are crossing the street. But here, we're just focused on getting the kids in between the cars right into the bus stop, and our particular school bus driver is really good at that."

As with any traffic law, some motorists will continue to break the rules, until they get caught.