Safety

Ohio, Florida Bills Would Stiffen Stop-Arm Running Penalties

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on September 18, 2019
File photo
File photo

Lawmakers in two states recently proposed tougher penalties — including doubling fines and driver’s license suspension time periods — on motorists who illegally pass school buses, and one state is also making funding available for stop-arm cameras.

In Ohio, Sen. Theresa Gavarone sponsored SB 134, also known as the “School Bus Safety Act.”

If enacted, the bill would:

• Create a graduating list of penalties starting with raising the fine for passing a school bus the first time to $1,000 (the current fine is $500) and suspend a violating motorist’s driver’s license for increasing time periods.
• Establish new aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault offenses related to illegally passing a stopped school bus.
• Allow stop-arm cameras to be installed on school buses to record images of violators and use as evidence of the violations.
• Appropriate a total of $500,000 ($250,000 in fiscal year 2020 and $250,000 in fiscal year 2021) for school districts that apply for grants to buy and install the cameras on their buses.
• Require the state Department of Public Safety to establish procedures to implement and distribute the grants, as well as submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the number of violations captured by the cameras in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 compared with the those that were detected by other means in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The department would also need to submit an estimate of the amount of money needed to purchase and install the cameras on all eligible school buses in the state.

Additionally, the bill would designate August as “School Bus Safety Awareness Month,” with the aim of increasing public awareness of stopping for stopped school buses.

“Our children's safety is my biggest priority, and I look forward to continuing our work to protect them,” Gavarone stated in a post on her Facebook page.

As SBF previously reported, Rep. Niraj Antani proposed a similar bill, House Bill 89, in March. That bill would also double fines on offenders and appropriates $1 million in grants to school districts to purchase stop-arm cameras in fiscal year 2020. It is currently sitting in the Criminal Justice Committee, according to the Ohio Legislature’s website.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Sen. Ed Hooper filed SB 290 on Monday. The bill would double the fines for failing to stop for a stopped school bus (from $100 to $200 for passing on the left side and from $200 to $400 for passing on the right side, where students load and unload); and suspend a violator’s driver’s license for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years after a second offense within five years. Rep. Ardian Zika filed a companion bill, HB 37, last month.

If the Florida bills are signed into law, the fines and license suspensions would go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Related Topics: Florida, legal issues, Ohio, stop-arm running/illegal passing

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 3 )
  • Calif Driver

     | about 24 days ago

    David Dunaway ..... keep doing what you're doing but dont expect different results. how are you helping kids in those parts by sitting in your comfy seat looking at the kids getting ran over by cars ??????

  • See all comments
More Stories
Michigan City (Ind). Area Schools’ transportation department recently recreated The Supremes’ famous “Stop in the Name of Love” — urging motorists to think twice before illegally passing a stopped school bus. Photo courtesy Michigan City Area Schools
Article

School Bus Safety Ramps Up Amid Increased Stop-Arm Running Incidents

Stop-arm cameras, partnerships with law enforcement for increased traffic patrol, and public safety campaigns are just some of the measures school districts are taking to ensure the yellow bus is the safest mode of transportation for students. Lawmakers are also introducing several federal and state safety bills.

Greenville County (S.C.) Schools aide Linda (shown left) and bus driver Carlos spotted a boy who had gone missing the night before and brought him to safety. Photo courtesy Greenville County Schools
News

School Bus Driver, Aide Locate Missing Boy

Bus driver Carlos and aide Linda of South Carolina are driving on their morning route when they spot a boy who had gone missing the night before. They convince him to board the bus and take him to safety.

News

Child Found Driving School Bus Across Town

The Louisiana 10-year-old drives the bus from a local high school after it was apparently unlocked and the keys were left inside, officials say. The child is taken into custody.

NHTSA has issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a requirement for a seat belt use warning system for rear seats. File photo
News

NHTSA Seeks Comment on Seat Belt Use Warning System in Rear Seats

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a requirement for a seat belt use warning system for rear seats. In particular, the agency seeks comment on a requirement for high-occupancy vehicles, including 15-passenger vans and school buses.

News

Washington School Bus Driver Charged with DUI

Catherine Maccarone is allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol when she runs three red lights with students on board. She faces several charges, including two counts of reckless endangerment.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!