It’s Back to School – Know Laws Regarding a Stopped School Bus; Watch for Children Walking to Bus Stops and Schools

As Montgomery County Public School students return to school on Tuesday, MCP wants to 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!

Know The Law –  Stopped school buses with activated flashing red lights and stop arms:

 

 

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:

Cameras that have the ability to record vehicles that pass stopped school buses with activated flashing red lights are placed on the the outside of school buses.  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.

The Automated School Bus Camera Safety Enforcement Program’s pilot program began in January 2014 with 25 cameras placed on the outside of school buses.  In October 2016, 200 cameras were installed on school buses and the Automated School Bus Camera Safety Enforcement Program was fully implemented.

Currently, 500 Montgomery County Public School buses are equipped with an exterior camera to capture violators who pass the bus illegally when it is stopped.  The goal is that an additional 400 buses will be equipped with cameras by the end of October (2018).  When this goal is accomplished, 900 school buses in a fleet of approximately 1,380 buses will have cameras.

  • During the 2017/2018 school year (September 5, 2017 to August 15, 2018), 34,778 civil citations were issued to those who passed a school bus and were captured on a school bus camera.
  • Approximately 51,000 persons have been issued civil citations as a part of the Automated School Bus Camera Safety Enforcement Program since the program began in October of 2016.
  • Approximately 2,000 vehicles were found to have passed the school buses on multiple occasions.

 

Bus with Camera

 

Bus with Camera

Penalties for Violating the Law:

Bus Cameras:  The camera-generated fine is $250; 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.

In Conclusion:

MCP wants everyone to have a safe and enjoyable 2018-2019 school year.  Everyone can do his/her part to ensure that our roadways are safe for both motorists and pedestrians.

 

RLI