A recently reintroduced bill authorizes the use of a school bus monitoring system to fine drivers who do not obey its flashing red signals.
Under current law, school buses are required to exhibit flashing red lights when the bus has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any person with a developmental disability or a child. Drivers of vehicles approaching or overtaking the school bus are required to stop at least 25 feet from a school bus that has activated its flashing lights.
The penalty for violating this law, for a first offense, is: 1) a fine of no less than $100; 2) imprisonment for no more than 15 days or community service; or 3) both. For subsequent offenses, the penalty is: 1) a fine of no less than $250; 2) imprisonment for no less 23 than 15 days; or 3) both.
Under this new bill, the penalties on drivers caught on bus cameras not adhering to existing law woule be: 1) a fine of $250; 2) 15 days of community service; or 3) both, in the case of a first offense.
For each subsequent offense, the penalty would be a fine of $500 and no less than 15 days of community service. Under the bill, a civil penalty of $250 would be imposed on a person who passes a school bus in violation of current law if the violation is evidenced by the recorded images captured by a school bus monitoring system. Under these circumstances, any civil penalty imposed and collected for this violation is to be forwarded to the financial officer of the municipality in which the violation occurred and used for general municipal and school district purposes, including efforts to improve the monitoring and enforcement of this law through the utilization of a school bus monitoring system and other public education safety programs.
A violation that is evidenced by the recorded images captured by a school bus monitoring system would not result in penalty points or automobile insurance eligibility points being assessed on the violator. The bill authorizes a municipality or school district operating or providing Type I or Type II school buses that transport students to contract with a private vendor to provide for the installation, operation, and maintenance of a school bus monitoring system for enforcement purposes.
The bill provides that a school bus monitoring system must be capable of capturing and producing a record of any occurrence that may be considered illegal passing of a school bus, and include in that 1 recorded image: 2 — if the school bus is exhibiting its flashing light; 3 — if a motor vehicle passes a school bus; 4 — the license plate, make, and model of the violating vehicle; and 5 — the date, time, and location of the violation. The bill requires any suspected violation captured in a recorded image produced by a school bus monitoring system to be made available to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in 9 which the violation occurred.
A law enforcement officer is to issue a summons within 90 days of determining that a suspected violation occurred. A summons may not be issued for a violation occurring more than 90 days from date of the violation.