TRENTON, N.J. — A state Assembly committee passed a bill that would allow video surveillance systems on school buses to catch illegal passers in the act.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe, would also increase the penalties for illegally passing a school bus.
"This measure sends the message that if a driver violates the law, we will use every legal means possible to track them down, and they will face serious consequences,” McGuckin said. “One student killed by a reckless and irresponsible driver is one too many.”
The bill, A-2150, calls for a five-year pilot program to allow municipalities and school districts to contract with private vendors for stop-arm camera systems on their buses.
"It’s very difficult for school bus drivers to gather information on motorists who unlawfully pass their buses,” Wolfe said. “They are focused on the students getting on and off the bus and the safety of all their passengers. Equipping buses with video systems will serve as an effective public safety tool.”
Alleged violations captured by a monitoring system would be forwarded to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality. If law enforcement determines that a violation has occurred, a summons would be issued.
If ultimately signed into law, the measure would also upgrade the penalties for the illegal passing of school buses. Violators would face fines ranging from $300 to $500.
Under current law, a first-time offender is subject to a $100 fine and up to 15 days of imprisonment or community service. Second or subsequent violations are subject to a fine of not less than $250 and up to 15 days in jail.
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