Growing up on a major state highway, I’m fairly used to dealing with lots of traffic on the road. When I was getting off the bus on my way home from school, somebody passing the school bus was an almost weekly occurrence.

While I was always grateful that I normally didn’t have to cross the street to get off the bus, the danger remains even for kids who get let off on the same side of the road. One father from Rensselaer County saw that firsthand this past week (which also happens to have been National School Bus Safety Week), as seen in this video published by WNYT out of Albany.

School buses in NY are passed around 50,000 times each day in NY, according to government estimates. (Phil Roeder/Creative Commons)

In it, you can see a driver passing a school bus on the right hand side as a girl is getting off the bus, coming very close to striking her in the process. This close call is one of the estimated 50,000 times a car illegally passes a school bus in New York every day, according to estimates from the State government.

Passing a stopped school bus with its lights on is not only wildly unsafe, but it’s also very illegal. First time offenders could face a fine of up to $400, get 5 points added to their licenses, and spend up to 15 days in the county jail. Subsequent offenses have a fine in the range of $600-$1,000, and can be punished by up to 6 months in jail.

The State Department of Transportation is using this moment as an opportunity to remind drivers to be extra mindful of school buses, especially during school drop-off and dismissal times.

Cover Image: Kids are picked up to go to school at their home in Thibodaux, LA (Creative Commons)