CAMDEN — An event for local bus safety advocates to emphasize the dangers of passing a stopped school bus and penalties associated with it was hosted Thursday by the Camden school district, said Madison-Oneida BOCES officials.
In conjunction with Thursday being Operation Safe Stop Day, education, transportation and law enforcement advocates across the state joined forces to remind drivers about the importance of stopping for school buses that are stopped, BOCES noted.
Motorists pass stopped school buses more than 50,000 times per day in New York state, observed Michael Sweeney, president of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation and the transportation director for the Westmoreland school district.
“This is unacceptable,” Sweeney said.
“Everyone today is too distracted, looking down, paying more attention to their cell phones, and a lot of them don’t know the laws,” the New York Association for Pupil Transportation president added.
Camden school district Superintendent Ravo Root shared the story of a 13-year-old Camden student who was hit in March by a car while walking toward a stopped bus with its red flashing lights on.
The student has since recovered, but her story highlights how easily, often and close to home a tragedy could happen, he said.
“It happens in a split second,” Root said. “It’s really important we do everything we can to keep our kids safe…to be extra alert, extra attentive.”
Among others attending the Camden event besides Sweeney and Root were Assemblyman Kenneth Blankenbush, R-117; Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol; Camden district Assistant Superintendent for Business Karl Keil Jr.; and Camden district Transportation Director Ed Snow, according to officials.