Letter: Stop Sign Insanity

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Many New Yorkers take great pride in their endless energy, unwavering passion and intensity. However, combining these characteristics with outdated infrastructure and congested cities has led to nonstop traffic. As any tourist or resident can attest to, New York traffic is unbearable. Perhaps the most startling result is the seemingly complete disregard by drivers for basic traffic regulations. You can see speeding, reckless driving and failure to stop for school buses on a weekly basis. In the editorial titled “They Still Pass School Buses, Don’t They?” Frank Rizzo correctly recognizes the grave danger to our children by failing to stop for a school bus, and the need for change in today’s society.

All parents understand the fear of witnessing a child exiting a school bus as a driver illegally speeds by. Each time this happens, a potential tragedy is created. Although all traffic violations deserve our attention, the danger imposed on our children by such an obvious infraction must be addressed.

A bill introduced by Assemblyman William Magnarelli and Sen. Tim Kennedy, and cosponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, seeks to implement stop-arm surveillance systems on buses. It aims to impose a greater liability for drivers engaging in such behavior and effectively countering this growing danger. In today’s hyper partisan environment, both Republicans and Democrats can finally agree on something—the need to keep our children safe and the crucial importance of swiftly passing this bill.

Many may argue such a bill will be impossible to effectively implement, inefficient to carry out or simply unreasonable. However, the core goal of this policy is ultimately to alter driver behavior by acting as a deterrent. Stop-arm surveillance on buses will effectively deter drivers from illegally passing a stopped bus, creating the potential to be caught and fined immediately.

An underlying principle of every law is to create a safe environment for all citizens, while deterring dangerous behavior. This policy fulfills both. The future of this great country is in the hands of our children, and implementing surveillance on stop signs is needed to further protect them from reckless driving. In addition, as lives are saved and injuries drastically reduced, state legal costs will eventually be diminished.

Children are essentially defenseless, and it is our responsibility to ensure their safety. Failing to prevent a car from illegally passing a stopped school bus, and continually allowing endangerment, is a failure of society as a whole. Both Republicans and Democrats alike can actually recognize that in exchange for failing to adequately enforce traffic regulations and allowing impatient, reckless driving to continue, innocent children may be killed.

—David Billet


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