April 4, 2011

Md. Senate seeks to crack down on motorists passing school buses

Local jurisdictions across Maryland would be allowed to install monitoring cameras on school buses to catch more motorists who disregard their “stop” sings, under a bill that won approval 38 to 7 in the Senate on Friday. Motorists caught by the cameras would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $250.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. David R. Brinkley (R-Frederick), aims to cut down on what educators say remains a big problem despite a criminal law on the books that subjects violators to a fine of up to $1,000 if stopped by a police officer. A one-day survey released in February by state education officials showed 7,028 reported violations by vehicles passing school buses with flashing red lights and stop signs. The actual number that day was actually significantly higher, because only about two-thirds of bus drivers returned the surveys.

The bill now moves to the House of Delegates, where its fate is uncertain. A similar bill was voted down earlier in the session by a House committee. During Senate debate, opponents of the legislation said the money spent on cameras would be better used on law enforcement and education about the existing law. SOURCE: Washington Post

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