Get caught on video illegally pass a school bus and expect a summons in the mail. This will be the reality for many Virginia motorists this summer after legislators revised an existing statute on stop-arm video enforcement.
SB 120 updates existing statute §46.2-844 that allows school districts to install and operate the video cameras or to contract with a private vendor for recording illegal passing violations. The revised law, which passed last Friday and approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, now approves the mailing of tickets and the ability of vehicle owners to rebut charges. It goes into effect July 1.
School districts around the state had already started enforcement programs when questions arose on the legality of mailing citations to motorists. Falls Church City Public Schools, for example, suspended its program with American Traffic Solution in October. District spokesman John Brett confirmed that the program will resume on July 1.
“We have a very active Summer Academy program for which bus transportation is provided,” he said.
From October 2013 through last May, Falls Church data showed that 995 citations were issued in result of video shot from seven school buses, an average of 2.99 citations per school day.
Motorists found guilty of illegally passing school buses are subject to a $250 fine.
The revised law also allows vehicle owners to rebut the violation by filing an affidavit with the court that they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. Vehicle owners may also testify in open court or submit a certified police report proving the vehicle had been reported stolen prior to the incident occurring.