Clarkstown Police Focus On School Bus Safety

Operation Safe Stop will be in effect on Thursday


The Clarkstown Police Department and local school districts will partner on Thursday as part of the annual New York State Operation Safe Stop. Officers will be stationed throughout Clarkstown to promote bus safety and draw awareness to the dangers of vehicles passing stopped school buses that have children getting on or off. There will be a visible police presence during the morning and afternoon when buses are transporting school students. 

According to the state web site, "During "Safe Stop," police officers are on board school buses and in marked and unmarked patrol units on selected bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints."

“Our children’s safety is an utmost priority,” said Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan.  “Our goal of Operation Safe Stop is to bring awareness to the dangers of passing a stopped school bus. Violators will be stopped.”

New York State law requires motorists to stop for school buses that are receiving or discharging passengers and violators can be fined or imprisoned. Passing a school bus with its red lights flashing can result in a fine from $250 to $1,000, five points on a driver’s license and possible imprisonment. Jail terms range from up to 30 days for the first offense and up to 180 days for a third conviction in three years.

New York State transports 2.3 million children in more than 50,000 school buses every year. School buses are typically on the road during a three-hour period in the morning and a three-hour window in the afternoon. During these timeframes school buses are often at the same location at approximately the same time each school day. Drivers are also reminded that school buses usually travel at lower rates of speed and make frequent stops.

There is plenty of notice for drivers when a school bus is preparing to stop. The driver will activate the yellow flashing lights about 300 feet before the location. At the stop, the driver puts the school bus into neutral or park with the parking brake then the door opens and red flashing lights are activated. The stop arm/stop sign gets extended and flashes.

Drivers in both directions must stop when there is a school bus loading or unloading students. The law requires drivers to stop when there are one or more buses stopped on a public highway, public street, private road, parking lot, multiple lane roads, opposite sides of divided highways or on school property or discharge passengers.

Tips for sharing the road with school buses:

  • Remember buses make frequent stops.  Be prepared to stop.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing on the right or left.
    • Watch for children who cross in front of the bus when the bus is stopped.
    • Look for children at bus stops and those running to bus stops.
    • By law school buses are required to stop at railroad crossings

Operation Safe Stop is funded through a grant sponsored by the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). 


Bill Killian April 18, 2013 at 07:00 AM
For a Police Officer to see a vehicle pass a bus with the red lights on is an egregious violation. Enough where they may stop responding to other calls and stop and ticket the driver. Depending on the call they are responding to. If you are having a continuing issue with a bus being passed on your street, call your police department. Not just once, but when you see it occur. The more information your police department has about it, the better they can address it. A chronic area where this occurs will be addressed. It is important to let them know it is an ongoing problem. Police departments every day get numerous calls about bad drivers. In your case, your voice can point to his is an ongoing problem. Even over the summer.
Bardonia Mom April 18, 2013 at 01:03 PM
Thank you, Bill. I appreciate your response, and suggestions. I will call them to let them know each time I see it happen. My child is in the first grade, so it’s a “newer” stop on the road. After the accident over the summer, I called the highway dept about putting up a sign. (I've seen bright yellow ‘school bus ahead’ type signs in other areas). They responded asap, but being that it’s a state road, they couldn’t put up the sign. They did though put me in touch with someone at the state level, who also responded asap. A sign was put up in both directions (not the bright yellow one), but it hasn’t seemed to help much. I wasn’t that naïve thinking the sign would fix the problem, but I thought it might remind people that they need to stop. Today was good. Everyone stopped, barely, but they stopped. I think the bigger issue is the speeding and not paying attention. The stories I could tell you about what I see in the passing cars in the five or so minutes waiting outside- speeding, cell phones, texting, reading, applying makeup, eating food with a fork off a plate, cigarette in one hand, phone in the other…I’m surprised there haven’t been more accidents in general.
stephany April 18, 2013 at 06:59 PM
"For a Police Officer to see a vehicle pass a bus with the red lights on is an egregious violation" @BK--you just said that it is an egregious violation "For a Police Officer to see a vehicle pass a bus with the red lights on " It is not an egregious violation of any kind. Please explain how anyone,including a cop, seeing something happen violates anything egregiously.It is not a violation to see anything Passing the bus might be egregious,depending on how long the red lights were on. Then again it may not necessarily be egregious at all. Without knowing the reason for the car passing the bus you cannot say anything was egregious,even if it was, you can't know it was just seeing it happen Example: I am driving down the road and a passenger in my car is having a heart attack/dying or my kid cut his artery on some glass,I am freaking out,it is 3:00 pm schools getting out,Kids not loading but unloading, no kids on either side of Rt304 .No Houses either, Bus stops on other side of RT 304 so I can see front of bus and all 4 lanes NO KIDS IN SIGHT, red lights go on still NO KIDS IN SIGHT, I will pass by the bus now and continue to the hospital to get help. It will not be egregious or unsafe in any way.IMO IMO most people who pass buses do it soon to immediately after the lights go on,not after the kids start unloading and less to none do it egregiously after the kids are crossing the street to get on or after getting off the bus not saying it is ever right.
seana marie May 07, 2013 at 01:16 PM
What if the bus only has yellow flashing lights on and has not stopped yet are u allowed to pass?
Smitty Chesterfield May 07, 2013 at 01:19 PM
i think youre supposed to speed up before it changes to red just like at a traffic light


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