SAUQUOIT, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol announced on Monday, May 8 a new partnership to help keep kids safe while riding the school bus.

The county has partnered with Verra Mobility, a transportation safety technology company, to install stop-arm security cameras on buses in nine school districts throughout the county. In total, 191 buses within those districts will be equipped with the company’s cameras. The districts who will be equipped with the cameras are:

  • New York Mills
  • New Hartford
  • Rome City School District
  • Sauquoit Valley
  • Westmoreland
  • Whitesboro
  • Waterville
  • Holland Patent
  • Adirondack

“We are excited about this collaboration between the Oneida County School Districts and Verra Mobility,” said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. “Our priority is to keep our students safe, and this program is an important component of our traffic safety efforts. This new technology will, no doubt, enhance the safety of our community by protecting students when they are most vulnerable entering and exiting the school bus. We strongly advise drivers to stop for the school bus stop-arm.”

When deployed, the camera automatically detects vehicles that pass the bus in the enforcement zone. When the violation happens, the camera also records and captures the vehicle, the license plate and the extended stop arm. Those videos and photographs are then reviewed by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and — if approved — a warning or citation will be issued to the offending vehicle.

Maciol also announced a 35-day moratorium on assessed fines in Oneida County for illegally passing a school bus when their stop arm is extended. Through June 12, no fines will be assessed, but a written warning will be issued. However, once the moratorium has passed, offenders will begin to receive their violations in the mail.

Under New York State law, fines for illegally passing a school bus range from $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. In addition to the fine, drivers who violate the law three times in three years may have their licenses revoked for a minimum of six months.

“Through this partnership, we are collectively furthering our support for the safe transport of our students and drivers.  We extend our sincere thanks to Sheriff Maciol and County Executive Picente for their leadership in promoting this essential safety initiative and bringing greater awareness to the safe passage of our buses on the road”, Sauquoit Valley School District Superintendent Ronald Wheelock said in a statement.

For more information on the Oneida County School Bus Safety Program, you are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Community Affairs Unit at 315-765-2220 or visit the Sheriff’s Office website.