HomeSafetyFlorida Allows School Bus Illegal Passing Video Enforcement

Florida Allows School Bus Illegal Passing Video Enforcement

County school districts will soon be authorized to install video cameras to capture motorists illegally passing school buses at student stops and use the footage for fines.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 766 on Wednesday to amend Chapter 316 under Section 13 of the state motor vehicle code. Effective July 1, school districts can install and operate school bus video cameras, referred to as school bus infraction detection systems, “based solely on the need to increase public safety.” School districts may also enter into contracts with private vendors to administer the enforcement programs.

Florida is one of over two dozen states to enact laws authorizing school districts to implement an illegal passing video enforcement program.

Money from fines will be used to pay for the purchase and maintenance of the equipment. The new chapter also states that individuals or companies are not allowed to earn commissions or fees from fines.

The Florida detection systems are defined as two or more camera sensors affixed to school buses that record video and create at least two still photos that document an alleged illegal passing incident.

School districts that elect to operate the detection programs will be required to enter interlocal agreements with law enforcement agencies to verify and enforce the violations depicted on the video. Footage must capture the offending vehicle, license plate, as well as date and time of the alleged infraction.

Law enforcement would then have 30 days to confirm a violation took place and issue a ticket to the registered vehicle owner, who can then file an affidavit if they claim they were not driving or no longer owned the vehicle at the time.

The systems must also be tested annually.

SB 766 also requires school districts to post high-visibility reflective signage on the rear of each school bus with a functional infraction detection system installed to indicate to motorists they may be recorded. The signage must state “STOP WHEN RED LIGHTS FLASH” or “DO NOT PASS WHEN RED LIGHTS FLASH” and “CAMERA ENFORCED” along with a graphic depiction of a camera. The signage must also occupy at least 75 percent of the available space that does not contain signs or insignia.

School districts must also make a public announcement about the enforcement program and create a public awareness campaign at least 30 days before implementing the detection system program. Beginning Oct. 1, school districts must report program results annually to the Florida State Department of Transportation regarding the number of school buses using the technology and how many violations were issued. Further details will be available to school districts in August.

Data will then be shared with the governor and legislature by the end of each year.

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