UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office provided an update on their new bus camera program — which is approaching six months in effect — on Thursday, October 16.

In 2019, the New York State Legislature passed a law to permit schools to equip buses with camera technology to catch drivers who illegally pass school buses. Up to 32,000 students in Oneida County are transported to and from school in buses every day, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

In May of this year, Oneida County Sheriffs announced a new partnership 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 in eight participating districts were fitted with the cameras.

According to sheriffs, when the stop arm is deployed, the camera will automatically detect vehicles within the enforcement zone. When an event occurs, the cameras capture video of the vehicle and images that include the license plate, the vehicle, and the extended stop arm. The video and photos are reviewed by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office for approval prior to issuing a citation.

Since June 12 of this year, the Sheriff’s Office has issued 302 citations in the eight participating school districts. Those citations are broken down by district below:

  • Holland Patent: 14
  • New Hartford: 51
  • New York Mills: 42
  • Rome City School District: 33
  • Sauquoit Valley: 13
  • Waterville: 16
  • Westmoreland: 33
  • Whitesboro: 100

The sheriff’s office also reminded motorists that the fine for passing a school bus ranges from $250 for a first violation to a maximum of one thousand dollars for three violations in three years. If an offender is convicted of three violations in three years, the offender’s license can be revoked.

Sheriff Robert Maciol also urged motorists to “Stop On Red, Kids Ahead” and to pay attention when they are approaching school buses.

For more information on the camera systems and Oneida County’s School Bus Safety Program, you are encouraged to contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office at their Community Affairs Unit at 315-765-2224 or visit the Sheriff’s Office website or social media.