A school bus caught fire and became engulfed in flames while on a route to school in New Jersey Tuesday morning, police say.
The bus, which was headed to Joyce Kilmer Elementary School in Mahwah, had just picked up its first student, 11-year-old Rocco Arcese, when Arcese alerted the driver to the smell of smoke.
“I was like, ‘We should get off,” Arcese told News 4.
Flames quickly spread and engulfed the entire bus within minutes, ravaging the entire front of the bus and burning the seats inside.
“I saw burning rubber falling from the bottom, and flames,” Arcese said.
The driver and the boy quickly got off the bus, and responding firefighters knocked out the blaze. No injuries were reported.
As soon as they were safe, Arcese called his mother, who at first didn’t believe him. Then her son’s cool demeanor helped calm her nerves, she said.
“He’s such a calm kid, and I knew he was OK,” Stacy-Perone Arcese, Rocco’s mother, said. “And I was OK ’cause I knew he’d be OK.”
Arcese said it’s not the first time he smelled smoke on a bus. His mother hopes it’s the last.
“I think they all maybe need to be revamped in some way, shape or form,” she said.
The fire is believed to have been caused by a mechanical problem, according to the fire chief.
It wasn’t the only scare involving a school bus across the Tri-State on Tuesday morning. Five elementary age children were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after their mini school bus careened into a house on Long Island. The school bus driver was also hospitalized. The cause of the crash in Amityville was under investigation.
from official BBC website
By Checkey Beckford
Dozens of city schools with summer classes set to lose speed cameras
Many city schools are set to kick off summer school classes Thursday — but students at dozens of them will soon be walking to class without speed cameras to catch reckless drivers.
There are 82 schools that hold summer sessions and have speed cameras to ticket motorists for speeding in a school zone — which the city will be required to switch off on July 25 unless legislation is passed in Albany to keep them on, officials said.
“The data is clear, speed cameras save lives. With our kids beginning summer school this week, the state Senate cannot in good conscience continue their vacation,” said Mayor de Blasio’s spokesman Raul Contreras.
“They need to get back to work and renew and expand speed cameras near schools. Our children’s lives depend on it.”
The city had hoped to get permission to double the number of speed cameras, which are placed near schools and automatically issue $50 tickets.
Instead, the state Assembly passed legislation to allow the city to keep using the 140 current cameras and add more, but the Senate ended its sessions without voting on it.
Among the schools with summer classes set to lose their cameras are Junior High School 227, Intermediate School 281 and Public School 52 in Brooklyn; Public School 22 on Staten Island; the Razi School in Queens and St. Raymond Elementary School in the Bronx.
Injuries to pedestrians and drivers have declined by an average of 14.8% around schools that have the cameras.
Maureen Landers, 47, a mom of two from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who has pushed for speed cameras, said the combination of less enforcement and less traffic on the streets in summer will put kids at risk.
Her 15-year-old son was hit by a car on the way home from school earlier this year and broke his leg — an injury she said would have been far worse if the driver was speeding.
“I think that summer is a particularly dangerous time,” she said. “There’s virtually no enforcement. The only thing to force people to drive close to the speed limit is congestion and the speed cameras. Now, if you look at the summer, you have less congestion and now we’re looking at a summer without speed cameras.”
NY Senator: Cameras can catch cars illegally passing school buses
A New York state senator wants to use cameras to catch motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.
Republican Sen. Catharine Young’s proposal would allow the cameras to be mounted on the stop arm of a bus and record any car that passes when the arm is extended.
Young, from Olean, says the evidence from the cameras could be used to issue tickets to motorists who break the law. She cited studies estimating that drivers around New York state pass school buses thousands of times each day.
She says similar proposals have been introduced in state legislatures around the country as a way to crack down on motorists who put children at risk.
Young and other supporters plan to discuss the legislation at a press conference Tuesday.
School bus safety bills, including targeting illegal passing, move forward in Assembly
A series of bills that advocates say will help improve school safety in New York State passed a key legislative committee on Tuesday.
The Assembly Transportation Committee reported out five bills, moving them to further committees, including one measure that would allow stop arm cameras to be installed on school buses. Members of New York’s Association for Pupil Transportation have been advocating for legislation to, among other things, help law enforcement officials catch drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
“These (bills) have been priorities of the school transportation community and we are pleased to see them advance like this,” Peter Mannella, Executive Director of New York’s Association for Pupil Transportation, said in a statement.
When a bill is reported out by the Assembly committee, that means it passed in that committee. In this instance, they will move to the codes committee for further consideration.
The stop arm camera legislation would be discretionary for school boards to pass a resolution authorizing the cameras to be installed and used on buses. Enforcement of illegally passing school buses has become the focus of a yearly crackdown on drivers on New York’s roads in recent years.
An estimated 54,962 drivers statewide passed a school bus on a single day in March 2017. Nationwide, an estimated 10 million drivers illegally pass stopped school buses each year.
A first-time conviction for illegally passing a school bus could result in fines ranging from $250 to $400, five points on the drivers’ license and potentially 30 days in jail.
Not every incident involves in a ticket issued against the driver, according to police. Sometimes a warning is given.
Another of the bills, which was designed to enhance drug and alcohol testing protocols for school bus drivers, was sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell.
The legislation would increase the number of drivers who are subjected to such testing, as well as increasing the number of hours that must elapse before a driver can operate a school bus.
“School bus drivers are entrusted with transporting students to and from school safely,” Lupardo said in a statement Tuesday.
“Under current law, drivers of smaller buses are not required to be tested for drugs and alcohol,” she said. “By closing this loophole, we’ll make the school commute safer for children and for other motorists on the road. I’m glad this bill has made it out of the Transportation Committee and is one step closer to a vote on the Assembly floor.”
Other bills reported out Tuesday in the Assembly’s Transportation Committee included:
Creation of a fund to promote awareness of school bus safety and particularly increase public understanding about the dangers of illegal passing.
Doubling fines for drivers of large commercial vehicles that pass stopped school buses.
Providing license suspension for multiple convictions of illegally passing stopped school buses. It would impose a 60-day suspension on any motorist who is convicted two or more times of illegally passing a stopped school bus.
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