Peter Mannella led a project in Syracuse New York where a school bus had a license plate reader installed to record incidents where motorists illegally passed school buses while they were loading and unloading children.
The project used a specially adapted version of the Elsag North America Mobile Plate Hunter license plate reader. The system is able to read license plates of vehicles coming from behind or going toward a school bus, register the plate and a photo of the vehicle, mark a GPS coordinate and time stamp, and provide sufficient information to prosecute those who violate the law.
The New York project was funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.
The project initially ran 41 school days and identified 68 persons who passed a single school bus equipped with the system which operated at different locations each day. This means slightly more than 1.5 passes of an individual school bus each day.
Initially, the NYAPT estimated there were approximately 50,000 violations each day in New York state. Given the results with the Elsag Mobile Plate Hunter, the estimate now is 80,000 illegal school bus passings daily in New York State. Multiplied across the United States, it is now estimated that there are about 750,000 violations every day across the country, endangering the lives of school children. With the Elsag system, for the first time it is possible to prosecute violators.
Peter Mannella heads the 600 member New York Association for Public Transportation. He has a long and distinguished career in public service with an early concentration on education, training and employment policy. He was involved in many state and national commissions and task forces relating to education, employment, total quality system and workforce inprovement policies and program.
As NYAPT head, Peter helped to enact more than 30 pieces of legislation including those relating to training for school bus drivers, initiatives related to illegal passing of school buses and a variety of technology and school bus equipment laws. He is both an advocate and an expert on school bus safety issues.
The NYAPT is a tax exempt organization. There are about 50,000 school buses in New York state that transport 2.3 million children to and from school on every school day.