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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2018 03:59 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: School Bus Arm Cameras for Enforcement of Title 75 ยง3345 (Meeting or Overtaking School Bus)
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will address the very serious problem of the illegal passing of school buses. This legislation would amend the Vehicle Code to allow for the placement of cameras on school buses to capture violations of Title 75, §3345 (a), which relates to meeting or overtaking a school bus – duty of approaching driver when red signals are flashing.

Current law, Title 75 §3345(a.1), requires the school bus operator to report violations of §3345 to the police within 48 hours if the school bus driver observes a violation. The information that the school bus operator must provide includes information pertaining to the identity of the driver, license number and color of the vehicle involved in the violation, time and location of the violation, identification of the vehicle type and other relevant information. If the report by the school bus operator to the police establishes a sufficient basis for the issuance of a summons, a summary traffic offense citation will be issued against the driver. Those convicted of a violation of Title 75 §3345(a) are subject to a fine of $250, 60-day suspension of driving privileges and 5 points on their driving record.

However, school bus operators are responsible for the safety of the children on the bus, and may not have the ability to provide the necessary information to warrant a citation being issued for a violation of the statute. Stop arm cameras would enable the camera to collect the necessary information when there is a violation. The use of stop arm cameras is safe and proven technology that can increase the accountability of drivers and remove the burden of school bus operators to report violations.

Currently, Pennsylvania law does allow stop arm cameras on school buses. In fact, some school districts in Pennsylvania are already using this technology. This legislation would encourage more school districts to take advantage of this technology, which would increase the enforcement of §3345(a) violations. This would be similar to the red light camera program. The school districts may contract with a camera vendor for the installation of the cameras. The stop arm cameras would start recording once the side stop signal arm and red signal light is deployed. The recording will capture violations and, after review by law enforcement, citations for violations can be issued. The vendor would be responsible for the equipment and a portion of the fine for a violation would reimburse the vendor. The installation of cameras would increase the number of citations issued, and, therefore, the overall amount of fines collected.

Introduced as SB1098