MAYFIELD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Police and schools across the state participated in Operation Safe Stop, a yearly effort to curb traffic violations around school buses that put children at risk.
“We’re hoping to make it more about awareness than ticketing people,” Richard Giardino, Fulton County Sheriff, said. “It’s a very dangerous situation, when you see a school bus, slow down.”
News10 tagged along with Deputy Ron Lennon in Fulton County to see what they look out for when on patrol.
“Watching for proper bus operation,” Lennon said. “Most of the complaints we’ve had are when people are running by in a hurry and ignore the red lights when the kids are getting on and off the bus.”
Mayfield Central School District Superintendent Chris Harper said the district consistently sees cars pass stopped buses, posing a risk to students, especially in a rural area.
“With the weather we have in upstate New York, where the roads are where some of our students live, we have hills and you just have to slow down,” Harper said.
“The speed limit is higher, it’s 55 in most areas which creates a situation,” Giardino said. “We have to start a little earlier because the schools are spread out across the town and, in some cases, across the county if they’re going to a BOCES facility.”
Both Harper and Giardino said the day is not about catching people in the act, but promoting safety for students throughout the school year.
“This happens every day,” Harper said. “School begins for our students when they hop on the bus. School bus drivers have a huge responsibility not only are they driving the bus, they’re monitoring what’s going on in the bus.”