Legislation Provides Clarity to Appeal Stop-Arm Violations and Enhances Student Safety
BusPatrol, the leading school bus camera safety program provider, today applauded Pennsylvania state lawmakers for adopting SB 851, an amendment that will strengthen the automated school bus stop-arm camera program. The bill enhances due process protections, provides greater clarity for residents that seek to contest their stop-arm camera violations, and enables the continued adoption of school bus safety programs to further protect students and communities.
“I applaud Governor Shapiro for signing common sense legislation that will improve the school bus camera safety program in every community across Pennsylvania,” said Karoon Monfared, CEO of BusPatrol. “This bill makes it easier to administer the program in a manner that is consistent with best practices, and I thank our community partners, law enforcement, and school leaders for working to develop a solution that puts student safety first.”
The amendment will centralize and streamline the adjudication process to ensure that every resident who wants to contest their stop-arm violation may do so in a fair and expeditious manner, as the law intended. This includes the ability for motorists to contest their violations through live-stream or video conferencing settings as opposed to traveling to and from a location.
Now, an owner of a motor vehicle that wishes to contest their stop-arm violations would be heard by an independent PennDOT-designated hearing officer.
This new administrative proceeding aligns with the adjudication process for similar automated enforcement programs, before moving to a district court if a further challenge is mounted. In that event, a magisterial district court judge would be restricted to determining whether a motorist should be found liable for illegally passing a school bus and would not be permitted to assign monetary penalties to other entities, such as a police officer or school entity.
Pennsylvania state law requires that motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. The penalty for a first-time violation is $300.
Back in 2020, Pennsylvania adopted landmark legislation to enable school districts to utilize automated school bus camera programs to improve the enforcement of school bus safety laws. Since then, BusPatrol has partnered with dozens of school districts to implement violator-funded stop-arm enforcement programs that use automated camera systems to curb dangerous driving and reduce the number of school bus violations.