LOCUST VALLEY, N.Y. (FOX 5 NY) - The Locust Valley Central School District is cracking down on drivers who blatantly ignore school bus stop signs. The district is part of a pilot program to install extended stop arms on buses that intentionally stick out into the next lane of traffic.
"In an era of distracted driving, anything we can do that's proactive and preventive in order to try to help and assist children—we want to do that," Assistant Superintendent Anthony Davidson said.
Diane Mastro Domenico said that drivers often avoid stopping for school buses. She shared the issue at a safety committee meeting after her kids almost got hit.
"A car stopped and then just hit the gas and started to go," she said. "The bus driver was blaring their horn and I'm jumping up and down and they just kept going."
Depending on how narrow and busy a road is, bus the driver has the option to use the standard stop sign, which is about a foot and a half, or the 6-foot extended arm.
"If this would save even one life, it'd be beneficial," Mastro Domenico said.
Officials with the Nassau County Police Department said they're in favor of any program that helps enforce the law. Each year, officers issue between 70 to 80 tickets to drivers who fail to stop for a school bus.
"It's up to three points and it's a large fine. It's anywhere from $300 to $600. Put that aside, the safety of the children really comes first," Detective Lt. Rich Lebrun said. "If this new implement for the school bus can save lives, it's a win-win for everybody."
Each retrofitted stop sign costs around $2,000. So far they've been installed on at least five of the district's 25 buses. Feedback overall has been positive. The plan is to expand the program.
"Cars that have never stopped before are stopping," said Katherine Russo, the district's transportation supervisor. "It's a good tool."