An Initiative to Encourage Drivers to STOP Driving Around School Buses


“Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” signs began popping up along roadways on campus earlier in the 2022-2023 school year.

Traffic laws are often ignored across New York, with a disregard for the safety of others and consequences such as fines. The disobedience of traffic laws, such as passing a stopped school bus, have resulted in a number of fatalities, as well as expensive fines and jail time for those who repeatedly break bus laws. New York is one of the many states that has authorized the installation of cameras on the stop-arms of school buses. In an attempt to detect violators of bus laws, and keep students safe, this program has already been initiated in the Shoreham-Wading River community.

“Passing a stopped school bus is incredibly dangerous and it takes just one mistake for someone to be critically injured or killed. Sadly, every year there are tragedies that occur across our country related to drivers passing a bus,” said superintendent of schools, Gerard Poole. 

Due to unsafe driving practices and breaking traffic laws, students are being tragically killed in accidents, and safe driving must be practiced around all school buses and students. There is a loss of over a hundred students in New York State alone, and these deaths could have been prevented by abiding by traffic laws and driving cautiously around school buses. 

The New York State School Board Association writes, “According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, an estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass New York State school buses every day.”  

Tens of thousands of drivers in New York are disregarding traffic laws, resulting in a number of fatalities. Some of these motorists, as suggested by the New York Department of Motorized Vehicles, pass school buses while in a rush, while their vision is obscured, while unable to see children, or simply driving past with no reason or concern for the safety of others. The number of drivers passing buses is being greatly reduced in areas that have installed cameras on school buses.

“The recent initiative to publicize the importance of stopping for school buses that are flashing red, along with bus-mounted cameras that generate ‘tickets’ for violators, will hopefully get motorists to slow down, pay attention, and think of the safety of others first and foremost,” said principal Frank Pugliese. These cameras are triggered by motion, and record a video, capturing footage to be used against violators. Without them, it becomes difficult to identify drivers, or even know when cars illegally pass a school bus. The existence of these cameras makes the consequences of passing buses more of a threat, and discourages attempts to simply drive by.

According to the New York State Department of Motorized Vehicles, convictions result in an expensive fine and jail time. The first conviction can cost up to $400 and include up to 30 days of jail time, whereas the third conviction can result in a $1000 fine and up to 180 days in jail. The owner of the vehicle may also be fined up to $300 depending on how many convictions have occurred. Many violators don’t know the consequences of driving past a stopped school bus, or that it’s illegal. And most drivers don’t receive a second ticket after their first conviction. 

This image from the New York State Department of Motorized Vehicles shows when it is illegal to pass a school bus. When a bus has stopped, traffic from any lane depicted above must also stop before approaching the bus. On any of these roads, the school bus has the right of way.


McGrew, Claudia. “School Bus Safety.” New York DMV, 15 May 2020. 

Williams, Tim. “Cameras Help Cut down on Dangerous Passes of School Buses.”, 2022. 

“Problem of Drivers Passing Stopped School Buses Being Addressed Countywide in Suffolk County.” Problem of Drivers Passing Stopped School Buses Being Addressed Countywide in Suffolk County – New York State School Boards Association, 2021.