Logan CrawfordOct 16, 2017, 4:35 pmOct 17, 2017, 9:39 am

Suffolk police crackdown on drivers that illegally pass stopped buses

Officials will also be targeting distracted drivers and speeding cars in school zones

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YAPHANK — Suffolk County police are stepping up patrols for National School Bus Safety Week, watching for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

"It's amazing how many people I see that are passing school buses out there, and it's scary," Karen Such of Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc. said.

The red flashing stop lights on the side of a school bus are signs officials say not every driver obeys. To crack down on those who pass stopped school buses, Suffolk County police are increasing patrols.

Commissioner Tim Sini says police will also be focusing attention on speeding and distracted driving.

"An act of ultimate selfishness. You are putting children at risk, we recently had a child struck in the Kings Park area," Sini said.

The 10-year-old was hit by an SUV while crossing the street to his bus; the child is expected to recover.

According to the New York School Bus Contractors Association, 40,000 drivers in the state illegally pass a stopped school bus every day.

Police say the first offense for passing a stopped school bus is five points on your license and a fine of up to $250 to $400.

"When you see those red lights and you see a stop sign, stop means stop. It's that simple," said Democratic Legislator Kate Browning.

The School Bus Contractors Association is calling for harsher penalties for drivers who pass stopped school buses.

National School Bus Safety Week and the increased patrols in Suffolk County will continue through the end of this week.

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