Anne Arun­del Co. law could en­force cam­eras on buses

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Naomi Har­ris

A Mary­land law that al­lows school dis­tricts to in­stall bus cam­eras to cap­ture driv­ers il­le­gally pass­ing a stopped bus could soon be en­forced in Anne Arun­del County.

The law could hold peo­ple ac­count­able, said Ste­fanie John­son, a mother of a Sev­erna Park High stu­dent who was hit by a driver af­ter get­ting off the school bus.

“Any­thing that helps with en­force­ment is a huge win for stu­dents, for par­ents — for ev­ery­one,” John­son said.

In Oc­to­ber, Al­lie John­son ex­ited the bus and was struck by a ve­hi­cle. Since then, Ste­fanie John­son said it has been a slow and long process of re­cov­ery. Al­lie at­tempted to go back to school but due to con­stant headaches has re­ceived school­ing through a home health pro­gram.

John­son said the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion could make driv­ers think twice be­fore driv­ing passed a stopped school bus.

At Wed­nes­day’s school board meet­ing, Anne Arun­del Pub­lic School of­fi­cials talked about sup­port­ing the County Coun­cil bill that would au­tho­rize in­stalling cam­eras on school bus stop arms.

The bill was in­tro­duced by Jan. 6, and if adopted, it would go into ef­fect 45 days af­ter it has been signed, said Alex Szach­now­icz, county schools chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. It would be a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort with Anne Arun­del Po­lice Depart­ment, the schools and the cho­sen ven­dor, he said.

In 2019, there were more than 3,000 bus stop vi­o­la­tions in Mary­land, and 500 of th­ese vi­o­la­tions hap­pened in the county, as first re­ported by WBALTV.

Other dis­tricts like Mont­gomery and Howard coun­ties have passed leg­is­la­tion. Anne Arun­del County cur­rently has of­fi­cers pa­trolling and stop­ping driv­ers when they wit­ness the in­frac­tion.

“We got 600 buses on the roads and the po­lice depart­ment is stretched…they can’t be out there, ev­ery­where, at all times,” Szach­now­icz said at the board meet­ing.

John­son said most of her fo­cus is on her daugh­ter’s re­cov­ery. Al­lie, a sopho­more, still wants to go to school, said her mother.

John­son urged other driv­ers to think about the con­se­quences be­fore pass­ing a stopped school bus while it lets off school chil­dren.

“It is not worth the 30 sec­onds you may have saved by go­ing past,” she said.

Driv­ers who do not stop at the flash­ing red lights of a school bus can re­ceive traf­fic charges, and de­pend­ing on the in­ci­dent, can be charged with neg­li­gent or reck­less driv­ing, said Anne Arun­del County Po­lice spokes­woman Sgt. Jack­lyn Davis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.