Police: Reports of School Bus Violations Up Steeply in 2022


New Canaan Police are seeing a steep rise this year in the number of reported violations of motorists passing stopped school buses.

Police received 31 reports of school bus violations in October, compared to just four in the year-ago month, Chief Leon Krolikowski reported at the Nov. 16 meeting of the Police Commission.

Through the first 10 months of 2022, police received 101 school bus violation reports, compared to 39 in the same period last year, according to the chief. 

“We have seen a huge increase in violations and in fact we are working with the [school district’s] transportation coordinator and the bus drivers to try to get them the information they need,” Krolikowski said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held at police headquarters. 

“Because sometimes incidents are reported but they can’t be enforced, because they don’t meet the criteria of the statute,” he said.

Krolikowski added, “This is largely bus drivers reporting violations with the cameras on the buses. And sometimes the actions don’t meet the criteria of the statute to allow us to take enforcement action. We’ve all been behind buses where the lights go on, they go off, they go on, they go off, and don’t give you much warning, so we’re trying to educate everybody along the way and be better able to investigate these cases.”

Under state law, “when a driver approaches a school bus displaying its flashing red signal lights, he or she must immediately stop his or her vehicle at least 10 feet from the front or rear of the bus and remain stopped until the bus no longer displays its red signal lights, unless otherwise directed by a traffic officer (CGS § 14-279),” according to the Connecticut General Assembly Office of Legislative Research. “At intersections, drivers are generally prohibited from turning toward a school bus that is receiving or discharging passengers.”

Drivers face a fine of $450 for a first-time offense, under the law.

Commission Chair Paul Foley said during the meeting, “Hopefully they are not going around the bus. It might be just going the opposite direction.”

Krolikowski said the violations have been “a mix.”

“There have been some clear bad violations—passing in a no-passing zone, school bus sign out, lights on, et cetera—when they are borderline and don’t meet the criteria we don’t take enforcement action,” he said. “We’re trying to better educate everybody.”

8 thoughts on “Police: Reports of School Bus Violations Up Steeply in 2022

  1. The town is growing, more people equals more drivers who have move here and do not understand or don’t care about these rules. Only when there is a fatal accident
    Then what will be done.

  2. A good place to start is to have the town or school district map all the cases and distribute a map to the residents and school population showing where this is taking place. We can then see if we have some high risk areas, or if the cases are distributed randomly. We have seen a significant uptick of issues on Elm Street this school year mostly related to drop-off where K-4 grade kids now need to cross the street, where as last year they were dropped off on their home side of the street. Perhaps this is related to the new bus schedule associated with the start time change (re side of the street drop off change). People going through lights in the oncoming lane (which is where the kids are now walking) is a mix of very new drivers not paying attention, as well as people with many decades of experience driving. No matter who is running the lights – I am glad to hear the NCPD and the School District are working on this.

  3. Many people have moved here from New York City over the last year and they are not use to school buses stopping since they hardly ever drive a vehicle in the city.

  4. The most frequent violations are on Route 123, Jelliff Mill Road and Old Stamford Road. All drivers know what to expect when they see a big yellow bus. The majority of violations result from inattention, but some are the intentional result of entitlement or frustration, i.e: “I’m important and I’ve waited long enough.” And it’s not just cars and trucks. Many bicyclists think they are above the law. Would you want your first grader to be hit by a bicyclist doing 25 MPH?
    The rules for where stops may be located have not changed in years. Kindergarteners are always dropped off “same side,” and the Board of Education does not permit students to cross state highways.
    The school schedule is now twelve weeks old, which is plenty of time for a commuter to adjust his/her schedule to avoid being delayed by a bus.

    • NCPS should clarify if the policy of grade K not crossing the road has changed in conjunction with the new bus routes this year. Our stop has a K grader cross Elm each afternoon (and yes older kids on the bus i.e. 2nd and 4th graders and parents help that child – and yes we made the school aware of people not paying attention and going through flashing red bus lights). This is an issue and glad people are focussed on it.

  5. Of the 101 violations was the number of tickets and warnings issued surfaced in discussion? @$450/ticket it would be interesting to know the enforcement.

    • I think the 101 represents the number of reports/complaints, largely from the bus drivers themselves. How many actual tickets were issued as a result I don’t know, that did not come up in the discussion no.

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