OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill allowing law enforcement to use cameras on school buses to track down drivers who illegally pass stopped buses was signed into law on Thursday.
House Bill 1926, by Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee, and Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, requires a minimum ticket of $100 for drivers who break this law. It also requires 75 percent of tickets for this violation to be deposited into the Cameras for School Bus Stops Revolving Fund, a grant which schools without proper video surveillance on their buses can apply for to purchase necessary equipment.
“House Bill 1926 gives our law enforcement officers the teeth they need to go after drivers who endanger our state’s children,” Kerbs said. “Right now, law enforcement can only give these drivers a warning if the officer didn’t see it themselves. This legislation allows buses’ video cameras to be the eyes for the officers to hold these dangerous drivers accountable, which helps better protect students loading onto or unloading the bus.”
According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, nearly 84,000 drivers ignore a bus’ stop arm every day.
Sharp served as the Senate author of the bill, which passed 30-14 through the Senate.
“Sadly, this is a common and dangerous occurrence. People are in a hurry and don’t think about the fact that a kid could run out in front of them,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “There’s a reason it’s illegal to overtake a stopped school bus but the problem is there’s usually not a cop around to catch offenders. By allowing districts to put cameras on buses, drivers breaking the law can be caught on tape and held accountable by law enforcement.”
The bill takes effect Nov. 1.