A Daily News probe into the safety of New York City school buses has uncovered alarming news. Two-thirds of New York City school bus drivers have been issued a speeding ticket or a ticket for running a red light. Some 65% of the city’s school buses have been issued tickets since 2014.
According to the Daily News, “Eighty-six school buses amassed 20 or more speeding or red light camera tickets during the period covered by The News’ data analysis, which was assisted by Brian Howald, a street safety advocate who runs the website How’s My Driving.”
Most of us assume that school buses and their drivers take safety seriously since they are transporting children. However, this investigation has found that’s clearly not the case in New York City.
At least nine people in the city have been killed in school bus accidents since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014.
In February, a 6-year-old Brooklyn boy who just missed his bus’ closing doors died after the driver hit him at Hooper and South Fifth Sts. in Williamsburg as the bus pulled away.
Records The News obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request show that since January 2014, city school buses have piled up a combined 26,339 speed camera or red light tickets.
A majority of those violations — 14,370 — have been recorded since 2019, the year state lawmakers approved legislation allowing the city to install hundreds of new red light and speed cameras in school zones.
The Daily News probe found that Fortuna Bus Company was one of the worst offenders. The company has clocked 446 speeding or red light camera tickets since 2014 — a rate of 10.6 tickets per bus — making it the city’s most reckless fleet.
When asked to respond to the news, a spokesperson for Fortuna blamed the proliferation of red light cameras in Brooklyn.
Pinkus Vaysberg, owner of Fortuna Bus Co., blamed his drivers’ recklessness on the recent boom of traffic enforcement cameras across the city.
“There are too many cameras in Brooklyn,” said Vaysberg. “What am I supposed to do? My drivers are good. They are not dangerous. Everything will be OK. I will tell them to stop speeding.”
The owner doesn’t appreciate the gravity of the problem or the danger the company is exposing children.