Police were out in full force Wednesday as part of 'Operation Safe Stop,' and YNN's Chris Whalen got a chance to tag along with one State trooper who explained what the effort is all about.
TOWN OF UNION, N.Y. -- The signals are clear: flashing red lights and a glowing stop sign, yet an astounding number of drivers across New York State choose to blow past stopped school buses every day.
"It's actually 50,000 a day, they say. It obviously says that they're not educated about the law enough or they don't respect the law enough," said State Trooper Jason Cease.
Once a year, law enforcement agencies ban together across New York for Operation Safe Stop, an initiative that aims to crack down on those not stopping for buses.
"If you're not aware of your surroundings, obviously the worst could happen in this instance and you could possibly strike a child who doesn't happen to be paying attention," Cease said.
During our ride along, we didn't observe any motorists breaking the 'Safe Stop' law. But anyone who does runs the risk of some serious penalties.
"The first offense, you can be fined anywhere from $250 to $400, for additional offenses, within three years, the fines are increased for the second and third offense, getting up to around one thousand dollars," said Cease.
In addition to the fines, offenders could also see up to five points on their license...nearly half the amount of points it takes to have a license suspended.
"They should be respecting the school buses, whether there's a law in place or not. There's children involved here, we have a high concern for the safety of the children in regards to this and the law is an additional safe guard to protect the children," Cease said.
Members of the school community are also a big factor in curbing this problem. Law enforcement coordinates with school districts to determine which areas need to be policed more heavily. So if you see instances of the 'safe stop' law being broken, be sure to contact your school district.