MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Local lawmakers are pushing for an increase in the maximum fine that can be issued to people who run school bus stop arms, The Gazette reports.
Montgomery County has 25 cameras installed on Montgomery County Public Schools’ buses to catch people who drive past a bus while its stop arm is extended with flashing red lights, according to the newspaper. Under state law, the maximum penalty allowed is $250 per offense, but Maryland’s district court, which hears the cases, has set the fine at $125, or half the maximum, as an incentive for violators to pay it instead of challenging the ticket.
Council President Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown told The Gazette a $125 fine is not enough of a deterrent, and that the county will ask the Maryland General Assembly to increase the maximum fine for the offense to $500, in an attempt to move the actual fine to $250. He added that until the fines reflect the seriousness of the violation, the problem will continue to escalate. Additionally, the County Council passed a resolution in the spring urging Judge John P. Morrissey, chief judge of the District Court of Maryland, to increase the fine to $250, the newspaper reports.
From January through October of this year, Montgomery County issued 896 tickets to drivers accused of passing a stopped school bus, Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for County Executive Isiah Leggett, told The Gazette.
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