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Push to add cameras to school buses in NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN-TV) - Around 50 thousand drivers each day in NYS, do not wait for stopped buses, despite it being illegal, putting students at risk every day.

"He lived a few hours but did not make it," Amy Cohen, mom, and advocate for school safety, said.

Cohen's son was hit and killed by a speeding driver in a school zone just a few blocks from her house. She says school cameras installed later, however, ended up saving another boy's life.

"After my son was hit, a five-year-old boy was hit in the exact same location in front of our home, and that boy lived, and mine did not."

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, five children every year are killed by drivers who pass stopped school buses, and even more, are injured.

"Behind every statistic, there are real children and real families," Senator Catharine Young (R-Olean) said.

Republican Senators and Assembly members are pushing for a bill that would work to catch drivers speeding around stopped school buses by installing school bus cameras.

The cameras would capture the license plate of vehicles that fail to stop behind school buses and issue them with a fine of up to 250 dollars.  

The proceeds from the fine would then go back to the school district and law enforcement.

"There is nothing more important than ensuring the safety of our precious children."

"We have technology that will hopefully make it known to people that going past a school bus like that is not something they can do," Charles Dedrick, Executive Director of the Council of School Superintendents, said.

There has been some pushback in the past about adding more traffic cameras, but legislators hope that by making it optional for school districts, this will help the bill to pass.

"This gives schools merely the option to do this if they want. I think schools should have that opportunity," Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) said.

The bill has been stalled in the legislature since 2013.

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