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Niagara Falls launches bus safety program to protect students at bus stops

The program, BusPatrol, will use a stop-arm camera on school buses to take pictures of license plates of drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — New safety measures are about to be put in place to help protect kids who take the school bus.

School buses in Niagara Falls will now use cameras on the stop-arms of the bus to take the picture of the license plate of drivers who illegally pass stopped buses. The City of Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls City School District, and Niagara Falls Coach Lines announced the program called BusPatrol on Thursday.

The program will begin on Monday. The installation and maintenance have been paid for through BusPatrol's violator-funded program.

“We know the safety of our children traveling to and from school is extremely important and with schools returning to full time, in-person learning, drivers need to remember to drive safely around school buses,” City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said.

“Implementing BusPatrol provides the added support we need to protect our children inattentive drivers that present a risk to the safety of our children as they get on and off the school bus.”

It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing in the state of New York. Failing to stop for a bus with flashing lights can result in a fine of $250 for a first-time violation of up to $1,000.

“With the full return to in person learning and the dispatching of 80 bus runs daily, it is more imperative now than ever that drivers proceed slowly and recognize that traffic safety is more critical than ever,” Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie said. “Hopefully, this program will yield no bus infractions.”

It is estimated that 50,000 drivers illegally pass a stopped school bus in New York according to Operation Safe Stop.