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Suffolk County Study Shows Drivers Ignoring School Bus Stop Signs, Speeding Through School Zones

BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Accidents waiting to happen -- that is the conclusion of a study released Friday on traffic safety around Long Island schools.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker commissioned a panel to study safety problems in all 72 school districts. An astounding number of drivers were found passing stopped buses and speeding through school zones.

With speed cameras recently scrapped amid public outcry, Anker said something else needs to be done to slow drivers down.

"People are flying," she said. "They don't realize that children are children. Children don't look where they're going all the time."

State law requires drivers to stop in both directions when a school bus extends its stop arm.

But in Bay Shore, the study shows drivers pass school buses 90 times per day.

"The bus driver will lay on the horn, and I'll see the cars will blow past," one driver said.

On roads surrounding Bay Shore schools, there were 438 crashes in the last five years.

"It's horrible," one man said. "They're not (thinking). They're on their phone."

The Longwood school district has mounted cameras on three buses in a pilot program and caught 1,160 violators in one school year.

"When you see a yellow bus with their red lights flashing, that means a child is getting either off the bus or on the bus, and you're putting somebody's child in danger," said Gale Winsper, director of transportation for the Longwood school district.

Anker is pushing for a new state law allowing cameras on school buses to catch and fine violators.

The Safety Commission also recommends more crossing guards.

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