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Agreement reached on stop-arm camera legislation

State lawmakers have announced an agreement reached on legislation authorizing the use of “Stop-Arm” Cameras on school buses to ticket illegal passers.

Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli (D-Syracuse, Van Buren, Geddes) sponsored the bill (A4905-A), introducing it in 2013.

The measure previously passed in the Assembly but had not passed in the Senate.

Under the legislation, municipalities may authorize the use of stop-arm cameras in coordination with school districts. The cameras activate when a bus is stopped and its stop-arm and red lights are deployed, capturing images of the license plates of illegal passers. Motorists who are caught illegally passing school buses by the cameras will be subject to a $250 fine for a first offense, $275 for a second offense within 18 months and $300 for a third offense or more within 18 months. Currently, an officer must witness an illegal pass to issue a ticket. The fine money collected will help municipalities with the cost of purchasing and operating the cameras.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) determined that approximately 50,000 motorists pass stopped school buses daily. This is an average of 6.2 passes per day per school bus. More than a dozen other states that successfully implemented this technology have found that it drastically decreased violations, by as much as 50 percent in the first year of operation, according to Assemblyman Magnarelli.

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