School is back in session, so be prepared to be on your best driving behavior.

WETM-TV recently ran a report, “Zero Tolerance” by Zack Wheeler (use the link, or read the copy below), in which Horseheads Police Chief Michael Barton said that during the first few weeks of school, the Horseheads Police Department was going to significantly increase the number of police officers assigned to traffic enforcement.

Even though Horseheads is the only police department advertising their increased patrols, you can rest assured that other areas will be doing the same thing.

Do you know the rules of the road when it comes to schoolbuses?

Chapter 6 of the New York State DMV Driver’s Manual includes a specific section on driving rules around school buses

  • When a stopped school bus flashes its red light(s), traffic approaching from either direction, even in front of the school and in school parking lots, must stop before reaching the bus. You should stop at least 20 feet (6 m) away from the bus. You can identify this bus by a “SCHOOL BUS” sign, the red lights on top, and its unique yellow/orange color.
  • Before a school bus stops to load or unload passengers, the driver will usually flash yellow warning lights. When you see them, slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Once stopped for a school bus, you may not drive again until the red lights stop flashing or when the bus driver or a traffic officer waves you on. This law applies on all roadways in New York State. You must stop for a school bus even if it is on the opposite side of a divided highway.
  • After stopping for a school bus, watch for children along the side of the road. Drive slowly until you have passed them.
  • Safety tip: Most school bus-related deaths and injuries occur while children are crossing the street after leaving the bus, not in collisions involving school buses.
  • Keep in mind that vehicles transporting disabled persons may be equipped as school buses, and you must stop for them just as you would for other school buses.
  • The fine for passing a stopped school bus ranges from a minimum of $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. A conviction also places 5 POINTS on your driver’s license, and do horrible things to your insurance premiums.  In addition, if you are convicted of three such violations in three years, your license will be revoked for a minimum of six months.

And for kids in cars:

And remember, for those of you who drive your children to school, Sept. 19-25 is National Child Safety Passenger Week, with National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 25. Seat Checks are FREE, and will help you make sure your child’s safety seat is properly installed to protect him or her in the event of a car accident. To find a Seat Check Location near you, visit the NHTSA’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Locator web page and enter your ZIP code.

Thanks for reading, and watch out for school buses!

ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062

“Zero Tolerance”


Horseheads, N.Y. – As students head back to class this week local law enforcement is keeping a watchful eye on you as you drive through school zones.

The Horseheads Police Department is implementing its “Zero Tolerance” enforcements starting Wednesday morning.

Police Chief Michael Barton said the department will significantly increase the number of police officers that are assigned to traffic enforcement for the first few weeks of school.

That means you risk the hefty price of a traffic citation if you fail to stop for a school bus and don’t obey the speed limit in the school zones.