ROCKVILLE, Md. — Several Montgomery County Public Schools buses are now equipped with automated cameras to record vehicles that pass by illegally.
The new enforcement program began on Thursday, when students returned to school. The cameras were installed during the break.
The Montgomery County Police Department's Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit will review violations, and citations will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
For motorists who receive a citation from the automated school bus camera system, the fine is $125, and there are no points associated with it. The penalty is significantly steeper for stop-arm runners who are caught by a police officer: a $570 fine and three points.
Officials said that the stop-arm camera program will expand over the next few months and will target bus routes with the highest reports of violations. The program is designed to allow the cameras to be moved throughout the county as needed.
In announcing the enforcement program, the Montgomery County Police Department reminded motorists of what Maryland law requires: When approaching a stopped school bus with activated flashing red lights, motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop. Motorists approaching the bus from the opposite direction must stop unless there is a physical barrier, such as a median.
Also, the police department issued a school bus camera information sheet, which presents diagrams showing when motorists must stop, explains common reasons for stop-arm violations and lists the penalties.