Police remind drivers about dangers, hefty fines associated with passing stopped school buses
Surveillance video that captured a child being nearly hit by a car as he was coming off a school bus is now serving as a warning to drivers as the new school year is set to get underway.
A school bus camera recorded the video back in May as children crossed a street in Brentwood.
Suffolk police now want to remind drivers that more than 3,000 school buses are equipped with those cameras, so if any driver tries to pass one, they will get an expensive ticket.
The video shows the young child get nearly hit by the car that illegally went around the stopped school bus. The boy jumps out of the way at the last second.
"That driver definitely put that child in harm's way," says acting Suffolk Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron. He says the incident highlights the danger of passing a stopped school bus.
As kids head back to class, he's reminding drivers that more than 3,000 school buses across the county are equipped with those cameras, and drivers will receive hefty fines for passing them when the stop sign is out at the lights are flashing.
"It's one of the most egregious traffic offenses and I've seen," Cameron says. "It's endangering the welfare of children. If you're late for work or late for an appointment, it can never be more important than the safety of young school children."
First time offenders will get a $250 fine. A second offense will cost $275. Those who pass a school bus a third time will have pay $300.
So far, the county says several thousand tickets have been issued.
People in Brentwood hope that will be enough to prevent something like this from happening again.
In Nassau County, the Legislature approved a similar program last month, but each of the county's school districts now has to choose whether or not they want to opt in.
Nassau officials say they'll give residents plenty of notice before the program is implemented.