As Montgomery County Public School students return to school on Monday, the Police Department and Public Schools continue to stress the importance of complying with Maryland law pertaining to stopped school buses with activated flashing red lights and stop arms and continue to educate the public on these laws. The Montgomery County Police Department is expanding its school bus camera enforcement program with the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
When a driver passes a stopped school bus with red flashing lights, it is often because he/she is either uninformed with regard to the requirements of the law, is impatient, or is distracted.
When approaching a stopped school bus with activated flashing red lights, Maryland law requires that motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop and remain stopped until the stop sign and lights are deactivated. The law also requires that motorists approaching the bus from the opposite direction must stop if there is no physical barrier, such as a median. Remember: “Paint (the line markings on the roadway) does not protect (children crossing the street).”
Automated School Bus Camera Safety Enforcement Program:
The Automated School Bus Camera Safety Enforcement Program began in January 2014 with 25 cameras placed on the outside of school buses; the cameras were strategically deployed throughout the County. Those cameras have the ability to record vehicles that pass stopped school buses that have activated the flashing red lights. Violations captured by these cameras are reviewed by the police department’s Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit and citations are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Since the inception of the program in January 2014, these 25 school bus cameras captured approximately 4,800 violators who illegally passed a school bus.
Within the first two weeks of this school year, up to 100 cameras will be deployed on the outside of school buses. Over the next three years, every Montgomery County Public School bus (approximately 1,200 buses) is scheduled to be equipped with an exterior camera to capture violators who pass the bus illegally when it is stopped.
WATCH VIDEOS of Automated School Bus Camera Safety Enforcement Program Violations (click links below):
Penalties for Violating the Law:
Bus Cameras: The camera-generated fine is $125; no points are associated with a citation issued through this program.
Officer issued traffic citation: A citation issued by a police officer carries a $570 fine and three points on a driver’s record.
MCP wants everyone to have a safe and enjoyable 2016-2017 school year. As the new school year begins, we remind residents to be prepared for heavier traffic and allow extra time for your commute. Remember to stop for stopped school buses when necessary and required by law. Be extra careful as the days are getting shorter and children are walking to bus stops and schools. Parents, please discuss with your children the importance of safety when walking to school or their bus stop. We hope that everyone has a successful school year!