Long Island School Buses Are Watching You

Long Island School Bus

Suffolk County officials announced that 6,000 of its school buses will soon be equipped with stop arm cameras to catch these violators.

Preliminary tests indicate that between 90 and 100 motorists ignore school bus stop arms.

State law requires drivers in both directions to stop when school buses are loading or unloading passengers.

The cameras have wide-angle lenses which clearly record the driver’s face as well as the activity leading up to the stop arm violation. Officials are eagerly looking forward to 2021, when the stop-arm camera program will be fully implemented/

“As a father of three children, nothing is more important than ensuring their safety and wellbeing,” remarked Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron.

“This new technology will ensure that our students will be further protected against dangerous driving when they are boarding a bus to go to school.”

Speed and Pedestrian Injuries

When children disembark from school buses, they do not always go directly to the sidewalk. They often cross in front of the bus and step into traffic lanes. As such, speeding cars have almost no warning before children suddenly appear in front of them.

Speed increases the risk of a pedestrian collision and the force in that collision.

When the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is travelling slower than 20mph, the pedestrian death rate is less than 10 percent.

These drivers have enough time to see the hazard and avoid the hazard. And, even if there is a crash, the impact is usually not too bad.

At 40mph, the pedestrian death rate catapults to over 50 percent. These drivers have almost no time to react to an emergency.

Additionally, according to Newton’s second law, speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. In other words, a speeding car is much deadlier than a slow-moving car.

Dangerous Traffic Violations

Ignoring a school stop arm is one of the most dangerous traffic violations in New York. Some other ones include:

  • Speeding: The dangers of speeding in pedestrian accidents was discussed above. These same dangers apply in vehicle-on-vehicle collisions as well. As outlined below, these victims usually have multiple legal options.
  • Failing to Maintain a Single Lane: Many motorists ignore stop arm cameras. But this number pales in comparison to the number of motorists who weave in and out of traffic. These maneuvers often cause sideswipe collisions. In many vehicles, only front or rear collisions trigger some safety systems. So, the injuries in sideswipe crashes are often quite serious.
  • Ignoring a Traffic Control Device: From a legal standpoint, intersection collisions are extremely complex, usually because of the last clear chance defense. Essentially, there is often a difference between fault at the scene and legal responsibility for damages. So, even if a police officer said you were at fault, always have a New York personal injury attorney review your claim.

All these traffic violations are examples of operational negligence. Other kinds of negligence include behavioral and environmental negligence.

Behavioral negligence usually involves driver impairment, such as people who drive under the influence of drugs or while they are dangerously fatigued.

Environmental negligence is a failure to adjust to adverse environmental conditions, like dark skies or wet roads.

Your Claim for Damages

In terms of liability, traffic violations could involve the negligence per se doctrine or the ordinary negligence rule.

Tortfeasors who violate safety laws and cause crashes could be liable for damages as a matter of law. These victims need only prove cause.

However, emergency responders often do not issue citations in these situations. They see car crashes as civil disputes, and they do not want to write tickets and get involved.

So, even in operational negligence claims, the ordinary negligence doctrine often applies.

Negligence is essentially a lack of reasonable care. In this context, “reasonable care” means following the rules of the road, whether or not emergency responders issue citations.

If operators breach this duty, they are legally responsible for damages.

There is often some overlap between these two principles.

Speeding is a good example. The posted speed limit is presumptively a reasonable speed under ideal conditions.

So, even if the tortfeasor was travelling below the speed limit, a victim/plaintiff could have a speed-related injury claim.

Negligent drivers often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.