CLIFTON PARK -- Transportation professionals and police officers gathered Wednesday at the Shenendehowa school campus to announce a joint effort to stop motorists from driving around stopped school buses.
The press conference to announce Saratoga County's participation in the Stop For Flashing Red Lights Campaign was held in conjunction with the first day of school at Shen and other districts throughout the state.
The campaign came after more than two weeks of meetings among the New York Association Pupil Transportation, the New York State PTA and various law enforcement agencies, including county and state police.
Some of the campaign involves raising awareness about school bus safety via videos, bumper stickers and billboards, but a large effort will focus on placing police officers near school bus routes to ticket drivers who go around stopped buses.
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo would not specify on Wednesday where exactly deputies would be placed, noting the effort's success is contingent on the deputies being unpredictable.
"It's about keeping our kids safe," he said. "We will be out in full force in school zones."
Also see: Thousands of students start new year at Shenendehowa, Sept. 5, 2018
A representative from the New York State Police also said Wednesday that state troopers would be monitoring bus routes in the area.
Zurlo said that, in the past, bus drivers have been vigilant in letting police know when drivers ignore their stop signs and that he expects they will continue to alert police to unsafe drivers.
Peter Mannella, New York Association for Pupil Transportation's executive director, cited motorist surveys that reveal drivers pass school buses 50,000 times per day in New York while the buses' red lights are flashing and children are being picked up or let off school buses.