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Police statewide enforce school bus safety

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Motorists approaching school buses had to be extra careful Thursday, as local law enforcement took part in a statewide initiative to crack down on drivers illegally passing school buses.

Sheriff’s deputies and police officers from state and local agencies took part in the operation, in which officers followed behind school buses in marked and unmarked vehicles to catch motorists passing a stopped bus.

State police in Watertown said that troopers all across the area took part in the operation, including one member of the Watertown barracks.

The efforts were intensified on bus routes with a history of illegal passing complaints.

According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, an estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass school buses every day in New York.

Four vehicles were spotted in Sackets Harbor on Thursday, including one unmarked vehicle, following a school bus.

Tickets were issued for those who illegally passed a stopped bus, but the number of tickets issued likely will not be known until next week.

Penalties for passing a stopped school bus include a $250 to $400 fine, five points on a license and up to 30 days in jail.

Subsequent convictions within three years could bring up to a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail.

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