NYSAC Partners with School Bus Camera Company to Improve Safety for School Children
The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) is proud to announce a 2020 partnership endorsement program with a school bus safety company that can assist counties with implementing a new state law designed to reduce incidents of drivers illegally passing stopped school buses.
The endorsement partnership with Verra Mobility is designed to help counties understand and implement a new law that took effect in September after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (S4524B, Kennedy/A4950B, Magnarelli) last year.
The law, signed as Chapter 145 of the Laws of 2019, allows for cameras to be placed on school buses to monitor school bus stop traffic violations. Under the provisions of the new law, a county (or city, town or village) can adopt a local law or ordinance establishing a school bus photo demonstration program.
The county or local government can then work with their school districts to install school bus monitoring cameras to identify motorists passing stopped school buses when bus red lights are flashing, and the stop arm is lowered. When this happens, the driver breaking the law is issued a violation and must pay a fine. Currently, a police officer must personally witness the illegal pass to process a motor vehicle violation.
“We applaud the Governor and State Lawmakers for enacting this important new public safety law. Drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus are putting children at risk of harm and breaking the law. This new program will go a long way to change dangerous behavior and protect our children,” said NYSAC President Jack Marren, chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.
NYSAC tracked the legislation because it calls on counties to consider implementing it, and then publicly supported its enactment to help save the lives of New York school children. The association is also creating material to help educate member counties about the new law and how it may be implemented at the local level. NYSAC's School Bus Safety Law Primer can be found here.
NYSAC encourages counties to review the new law and, if a county is interested, to explore the qualified companies who can provide this public safety service, subject to their procurement policies and in conformance with state law (General Municipal Law, Section 103).
After researching the marketplace last fall, NYSAC entered into an endorsement partnership with Verra Mobility, a company with experience issuing camera violations in New York State, including in New York City, Nassau County, White Plains, and Mount Vernon. The company runs pilot school bus safety programs with Bay Shore and Longwood school districts in Suffolk County. The success of these pilot programs was a catalyst for the new law, and also the partnership with NYSAC.
Like NYSAC's other partnership sponsors, Verra Mobility will provide revenues to NYSAC for the Association's endorsement. Those funds, which would come from the violation fines paid by the drivers who are putting school bus students at risk, will be reinvested in NYSAC for county education and training purposes, and used to minimize county subsidization of Association operations. To ensure compliance and transparency in this effort, the partnership has been reviewed and approved by outside counsel, and NYSAC, as a matter of routine business practice, reports all sources of income to the State Joint Commission on Pubic Ethics (JCOPE), the state's ethics and lobbying regulatory agency.
There are other companies who provide these school bus safety services, and they also want to work with counties. The Association encourages counties that are considering implementing this new law to seek information from all relevant companies.
County procurement decisions are made in compliance with state bidding and “best value” laws, and NYSAC encourages marketplace competition to ensure the county chooses the most responsible program to protect the school children at no cost to taxpayers.
For more information on the law, contact Mark LaVigne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Verra Mobility, contact Charles Territo at 480-596-4787 or email@example.com.