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As the new school year gets underway, police remind drivers to watch for kids and school buses

New York State Police

School is starting across New York this week, and that means drivers need to watch out for children and school buses.

When school buses hit the road, so will extra law enforcement patrols, out to remind motorists to they must slow down in school zones, and be prepared for bus traffic.

“We will be out in full force, whether it’s State Police, sheriff’s deputies, town, village police departments, said State Police Spokesman Jack Keller. “We have a campaign every year, so we’re just reminding motorists we will be out in full force.”

Keller said the penalties for passing a stopped school bus start with a $250 fine.

“But you’re also looking at 30 days possibility of jail time, and on top of that you’re looking at five points, and those five points come at you later because your insurance may go up,” he said. “So if that’s not a motive and reminder to drive slower around these school buses, then I don’t know what is, really."

And while local police agencies, sheriff’s deputies and troopers are out in force as school starts to remind drivers of the rules, Keller notes that officers don’t have to be on hand for someone to be charged.

"Most school buses and homes now have video cameras,” he said. “Whether it’s a Ring or another type of home security system, and we’re catching those drivers based on those videos."

A doorbell camera caught compelling video last spring of an East Syracuse-Minoa bus driver stopping two children from stepping in the path of a car speeding past his stopped school bus. Police found that driver and issued several tickets.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.