Bill Would Require Cameras on School Bus Stop Arms

A South Texas Democrat has introduced legislation requiring outer cameras on all school buses, to help catch and fine those who drive dangerously around the extended stop arm.

State Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission, wants to expand what's already being done in the Dallas ISD.  But critics call HB 859 a money grab that does nothing to keep school children safe.

“If there's a wreckless driver who wants to get around that school bus and they're willing to mow over children, taking a picture of them doing it isn't going to prevent them from doing it any less than the red light cameras prevented accidents in Houston and other areas,” says Byron Schirmbeck, director of the Texas Campaign for Liberty.

“Why don't they do things that actually work to prevent someone from hitting a child?” he asks.  “Instead of just capturing it for posterity on film, and then sending the person who may not even been driving the vehicle ticket of up to $1,000.”

Calls seeking comment from Rep. Longoria were not returned.  However, Schirmbeck says better ways to prevent accidents already exist.

“When the stop arm comes out on the side of the bus, it has that little stop sign on it, some of them have a very long one that actually extends out into traffic to keep people who are distracted or otherwise trying to get around the school bus from actually passing the school bus,” he says.

Schirmbeck has launched Trash Your Ticket, an online resource for camera offenders to learn more about the law and how to proceed with challenging the fine.

Texas school bus drivers will take part in a survey in April to monitor the number of stop arm offenders on any given day.

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