Illegal passing of school buses can lead to some horrific, nightmarish accidents when unsuspecting children are boarding or loading the bus. With the passage of SB 1098, the state of Pennsylvania is looking to curtail the practice of illegally passing school buses by recording drivers who do it. The bill calls for the installation of stop-arm cameras that hopefully catch such careless drivers in action so that proper charges can be filed or citations issued.
Illegal passing has always been a big issue for bus drivers, parents and students, since drivers who are impatient or who just lack any regard for human life take it upon themselves to simply drive around the bus’ extended Stop sign. It is sometimes difficult for drivers and others, who are more concerned with the safety of the children getting on and off the bus at the moment, to note the license plate numbers of offending vehicles or get a good description of the driver. With the installation of the stop-arm cameras, this should change, making it easier to identify those who run afoul of the legal requirement to stop when the stop arm is extended.
Each stop arm will actually receive two cameras. One camera will be installed on either side of the sign, allowing the capture of the front of the car and the driver as they pass as well as the license plate number of the vehicle when it goes by bus in the other direction.
The current fine for illegally passing a school bus is $250. A surcharge will be added on top of that fine. This $35 surcharge will be used to pay for the cameras themselves. School boards still have the final say as to whether they will install the cameras on their buses or not.
Across the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation notes that there were 747 people convicted for passing a stopped school bus in 2017. However, nationwide, in just a single day in 2016, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services noted that 104,000 school bus drivers watched as 77,972 vehicles illegally passed their buses. This puts the estimates of illegal passing at 14 million violations per year. Thankfully, school transportation-related accidents are rare. Still, they do happen. In the period running from 2006 to 2015, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 102 school-age pedestrians died in school transportation-related crashes—with roughly 36 percent of them succumbing to injuries incurred when being struck by other vehicles.
Captured images of drivers violating the law by passing a school bus illegally are all that PA police now need to issue a citation to offending drivers.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a bus accident, contact our Philadelphia bus accident attorney to review the details of your case. Set up your no-obligation case evaluation and consultation now to determine the legal remedies available to you.