It’s that time of year when our children are returning to school, ready for a new school year, seeing their friends, and dreaming of becoming all they are supposed to be!

As the school year begins, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation wants all the Moms and Dads and families to know that those 2.3 million children will be riding aboard yellow school buses driven by qualified and well-trained school bus drivers in our state! We want them to know that their school buses will be well-equipped and maintained and offer the best safety technology and equipment available. And we want them to know that they will travel to school and back home each day on routes that are carefully planned for efficiency, but most importantly, for student safety.

“We are blessed with dedicated professionals in school transportation – including managers, dispatchers, mechanics, trainers, drivers and attendants – who are dedicated to the single mission of student safety in all we do. Students will arrive at school on buses operated by school districts, BOCES, private contractors, private schools and others, ready to learn. We are all united in one mission: student safety. We have a safety record that is second-to-none in New York State and we are deeply committed to continuing that safety for all 2.3 million children entrusted to our care,” noted Lori Ann Savino, NYAPT President and Transportation Supervisor for Jericho Public Schools.

NYAPT also wants to remind all motorists in New York State that the state’s Vehicle & Traffic Law requires all vehicles to come to a full stop when approaching a school bus that has its red lights flashing. Those lights indicate that a child is either boarding or departing the school bus. The law requires motorists to stop from all directions including on divided highways and multi-lane roads. Individuals who violate this law are subject to fines ranging from $250-$400 and five points on their license for a first conviction, with fines increasing for subsequent violations.

NYAPT estimates that some 50,000 motorists pass stopped school buses every day in New York. NYAPT Executive Director, Peter Mannella, notes that “50,000 illegal passes per day is simply unacceptable and presents a serious danger to our children. They trust us to stop and to keep them safe. They deserve our full attention to ensure their safety.”

There are over 50,000 yellow school buses operated by trained school bus drivers in all corners of New York State. School buses have a tremendous record of safety. Nationally recognized data demonstrate that school buses are some 50 times safer than any other form of transportation and that they are economically and environmentally efficient.

NYAPT wishes all students and their school bus drivers a successful and safe school year!

Peter Manella – Executive Director, NYAPTA