May 8, 2023

Oneida County School Bus Camera Safety System Goes Live

News Photo

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Sheriff Robert Maciol announced today that nearly 200 cameras on buses in nine school districts went live this morning, and will now capture the license plates of drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

"Oneida County is committed to protecting the safety of our children through all available means,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said. “That’s why we created a law that will allow our school districts to use cameras to catch drivers who dangerously pass stopped school buses and then ticket and fine them. I’m glad that this program is ready to launch and I look forward to working with the Sheriff’s Office and Verra Mobility to ensure that these deeds never go unpunished.”

“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.” 

During the next 35 days, the Sheriff's Office will begin issuing written warnings to vehicle owners whose vehicles illegally pass school buses when their stop arms are extended. Fines will start being assessed on June 12th. Vehicle owners, whose vehicles are observed passing the school bus while students are entering or exiting the bus, will receive a violation in the mail. 

Verra Mobility’s CrossingGuard™ school bus stop-arm enforcement solution provides state-of-the-art stop-arm safety technology to effectively capture stop-arm events. When the stop arm is deployed, the camera automatically detects vehicles that pass the stopped bus within the enforcement zone. When an event occurs, the cameras record video of the vehicle and capture event images including the vehicle, its license plate, and the extended stop-arm. The violation video and license plate images are then reviewed by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office for approval prior to a warning or citation being issued. 

Up to 32,000 students in Oneida County can be transported to and from school in school buses every day. As part of the county’s partnership with Verra Mobility, a total of 191 school buses will be equipped with school bus stop-arm safety cameras.

Buses from the following school districts will be equipped with safety cameras:

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

"The Sauquoit Valley Central School District is excited and grateful to partner with Verra Mobility and the Oneida County Sheriff's Office in the school bus stop-arm camera campaign," said Sauquoit Valley School District Superintendent Ronald Wheelock. "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.”

In 2019, the New York Legislature passed legislation to permit schools to equip their buses with camera technology to catch drivers who illegally drive by school buses when they stop to pick up or drop off students. The Oneida County Board of Legislators passed the local law Picente proposed in 2020.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, under the law, the fine for passing a school bus ranges from $250 for a first violation, to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. Additionally, if a vehicle owner is convicted of three violations in three years, their driver’s license can be revoked for a minimum of six months.

Oneida County and the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office contract with Verra Mobility to administer their Safety Program. For more information on Oneida County’s School Bus Safety Program, contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Community Affairs Unit at 315-765-2220 or visit the Sheriff’s Office website or social media platforms.

Oneida County Partners