Far too many drivers are not obeying the Maryland School Bus Law. In January 2014, the Montgomery County Department of Police, in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools, began a school bus camera enforcement program. We started with 25 cameras that could be rotated for use on various buses. We also began a continuing education program to make sure the public was aware of when to stop. By the start of this school year 500 buses were equipped with cameras. As the number of cameras in the program has expanded, it has become very apparent how prevalent this violation is, not just in your neighborhood but throughout our County.
In the beginning 40 days of this school year (with 500 cameras), 7,919 drivers were recorded illegally passing buses stopped to load or unload students. The total citations issued from cameras averaged 198 per day. Last school year in 153 days (between October 13 and June 16), 17,235 citations (112 a day) were issued as the camera program expanded from 108 to 217 camera-equipped buses. Since October 13, 2016, 633 drivers have been repeat offenders. Do you know the law? Throughout the state of Maryland, drivers must stop, and remain stopped, for a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing and stop arm activated. A driver may not proceed until the flashing red lights go off and the bus begins to move. The only time a driver doesn’t have to stop is if the vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction of the bus and there is a physical median/barrier separating the lanes of traffic. With camera citations confirming a lack of compliance to the law, it is only a matter of time before a child gets seriously injured or killed. Make sure you know, understand, and obey the school bus law. We need your help to prevent a needless tragedy.
You can learn more about the school bus law at http://bellsmill.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/BusSafety.pdf