Bill Request 136 would create a new section of Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 160 that would require all local districts to install and maintain a school bus stop-arm camera on all daily route school buses by Aug. 1, 2023.
The bill, which was pre-filed this month by Rep. Robert Goforth, says school districts would be allowed to contract with a third party to purchase or lease the installation, operation and maintenance of the school bus stop-arm camera.
BR 136 adds that districts could contract for purchase and maintenance of the cameras, but also that school districts would need to establish procedures for using school bus stop arm cameras prior to installing.
The bill would also require the Kentucky Department of Education to conduct annual onsite inspections of school buses [starting in the 2023-2024 school year] to ensure compliance, stressed agency spokeswoman Jessica Fletcher. If the district is not in compliance with the law, the department would be required to withhold a portion of the school district’s transportation funds, she added.
Fletcher explained that fines would be assessed to drivers who are digitally captured by the school bus stop-arm cameras. According to BR 136, the motor vehicle owner who is recorded by a school bus stop-arm camera illegally passing on or after Aug. 1, 2021, will be fined $200 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense that occurs within a three-year period.
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The revenues from fines would be divided between the school district or third-party for installing and maintaining the cameras, the Kentucky Department of Education for performing annual onsite inspections, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for other costs that are associated with implementing the law.
“Cameras are important in areas where illegal passing is prevalent. The failure of drivers to stop for stopped school buses poses great danger for students walking to and exiting from school buses,” Fletcher said. “Due to the many responsibilities of the school bus driver, a camera can capture the information needed to issue a citation for a driver, while allowing the school bus driver to continue to concentrate on students.”