Motorist caught passing stopped school bus during enhanced enforcement

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SAUGERTIES – Thursday’s statewide Operation Safe Stop, which seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts resulted in a Saugerties driver being cited for passing a stopped school bus.   Police Chief Joseph Sinagra said that there is zero-tolerance for drivers who pass a stopped bus.

On April 28, Saugerties Police participated in Operation Safe Stop. Officers were assigned to various bus routes throughout the Village and Town of Saugerties between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m, in search of motorists failing to stop for school buses who had flashing red lights and were in the process of picking up children for school.

At 7:19 a.m., an officer assigned to follow a Lezette Express bus route on State Route 9W observed the
school bus activate its red flashing lights, upon coming to a complete stop on Route 9W at the intersection of Overbaugh Street.  The bus door opened, and a mother and her small child began to approach the vehicle when the officer observed a black 2015 Honda CRV traveling north on State Route 9W, pass the stopped bus  without even slowing down.

The officer immediately conducted a traffic stop, identifying the operator of the vehicle as a 31-year-old Town of Saugerties woman. She told the officer that she was looking down and did not notice the bus, its flashing red lights, or the mother and child.

The driver was issued a traffic ticket for failing to stop, passing a school bus with flashing red lights.  The fine for passing a stopped school bus ranges from a minimum of $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. Jail time is up to 30 days for a first violation and up to 180 days for a second and third violation in three years.

Drivers convicted of three of these violations in three years will have their driver’s license revoked for a minimum of six months.

Conviction of unlawfully passing a school bus while it is stopped to get or let off passengers will result in five points on a driver’s license in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court.

Operation Safe Stop is a cooperative project supported by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and law enforcement agencies throughout the state.  The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee estimates that 50,000 motorists pass a stopped school bus each day in New York.