Preparing for Operation Safe Stop

By Jillian Marshall

April 15, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 12:54 AM EDT

Town of Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Drivers caught failing to obey rules for stopped school buses will be ticketed. But it's a small penalty, considering the potentially deadly implications of breaking the law, officials said Monday.

Operation Safe Stop, which takes place Thursday, is a day set aside every year by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the New York Association of Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) to make the public aware they must stop for the flashing red lights of school buses.

On Monday at Thomas J. Watson elementary school, local law enforcement, Union Endicott school administrators and students sent the message for a statewide enforcement initiative.

An average of 50 people pass a school bus illegally every day in the Southern Tier,
according to Lisa Wilson, supervisor of transportation at Union Endicott schools.

"Not only are you taking a risk -- it's illegal -- but you're also risking a child's life," she said. "Children do get killed because people pass school buses."

Broome County Sheriff David Harder says school buses will have marked and unmarked cars following school buses Thursday afternoon.

He says tickets for passing a school bus carry a minimum penalty of $150.

"These yellow school buses travel the same routes, at the same time. They make the same stops every single day. If you don't want to be behind a school bus, take a different route," Wilson said.