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Schumer: Feds can support school bus traffic cameras

It is estimated that more than 50,000 New York vehicles illegally pass school buses with their stop signs extended, but the data on school bus safety is largely anecdotal.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer in a phone press conference Wednesday, called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has been collecting data on the issue since 2015, to release a long-overdue report on how schools can maximize the safety of students during school pick-ups and drop-offs.

The senator from New York noted that it has been 10 years since NHTSA revised its safety guidelines for student transportation.

State legislation signed into law in August authorized the mounting of traffic cameras near school bus stop signs that are extended as children enter or exit the vehicle, but, so far, few districts have signaled interest in using the devices.

The cameras would be operated by municipalities and coordinate with law enforcement to ticket law-skirting drivers. The fines are expected to reimburse schools or municipalities for initial equipment and installation costs.

Some districts have cited cost as a barrier to implementation, according to New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) Executive Director David Christopher.

Schumer called on the federal agency to expedite the report, which was expected in early 2018. If necessary, the government could require external traffic cameras on school buses, which would enable the use of federal grants to pay for the devices.


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