A Virginia state lawmaker has proposed a change to a law that would allow police departments to mail summonses — instead of delivering them in person — to motorists caught on camera illegally passing school buses, The Washington Post reports.
Falls Church and Arlington County had been using stop-arm cameras on school buses to record images of motorists passing buses that are loading and unloading students, and then issuing fines to the violators. As previously reported, the city of Falls Church suspended its school bus stop-arm camera program, effective Oct. 2, in response to an opinion from the commonwealth's attorney general. Arlington County also stopped issuing the $250 summonses at that time, according to the newspaper.
A "Video-Monitoring on School Buses" bill that was signed into law in 2011 did not specifically include the "citation-by-mail" provision. Attorney General Mark R. Herring ruled that the summonses had to be hand-delivered by police to the motorists’ homes. He wrote in his opinion that the state legislature never specifically gave police the authority to mail the summonses. Authorities said that hand-delivering the summonses would have been too time-consuming and costly, The Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, Delegate Kaye Kory introduced legislation that would add language to the law, clarifying that police have the authority to issue the summonses by mail. It will be considered in the next legislative session, which starts in early 2016. Kory told the newspaper that the cameras are important because more motorists don’t stop for school buses.
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