Each year, an average of 19 school-aged children are killed in collisions involving school transportation. In most cases, the child loses his life before he gets on the bus or after he exits. Just five children die annually on average as a result of collisions while the kids are passengers on the bus. The rest are killed in pedestrian accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Many of these collisions could be prevented if drivers paid more attention to the rules of the road and if they obeyed the laws that prohibit passing a stopped school bus. Because many drivers do pass when the school bus stop sign is displayed, the Augusta Chronicle indicates that there is a proposal being considered that would allow school buses to film those who illegally pass them. Those who pass school buses can face criminal charges and can be held responsible for losses and damages they cause. Victims and surviving family members can get help from an experienced Anderson, SC injury attorney.
Filming Drivers Could Reduce The Risk for Kids
A bill pending before the South Carolina Senate, S. 718, would make it possible for outward facing cameras to be placed on the front of school buses. This would capture motorists who pass school buses in violation of the law and would make it easier for those motorists to face the consequences of their actions.
Under the existing laws in South Carolina, bus drivers may report a description of the driver and the vehicle to local law enforcement. Drivers may also write down the license plate number to provide to the police. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for a bus driver to get all of this information as the driver zooms by when illegally passing.
When the Department of Public Safety receives complaints from bus drivers about motorists who have passed the bus and broken the rules, the DPS visits the alleged offender’s home or sends him letters to explain the dangers of disregarding stop signs on school buses.
The current rules result in hundreds of dollars in criminal fines if police witness the violation. In most cases, however, police are not around when a driver passes a bus and the driver gets off with no consequence.
If video cameras were placed on buses as proposed, those who violated the law and passed the bus would face a $100 civil fine for a first-time offense. This is actually a relatively small fine, as other states have fines of around $250 for offenders.
The installation of a video camera would cost around $2,700 but sometimes manufacturers will provide a donation of cameras to a district without charge. Often, a manufacturer who does this will accept a portion of the payments from citations as payment for the installation of the cameras.
While children’s lives could potentially be saved by adding this deterrent to passing buses, some lawmakers have expressed concerns about privacy as well as about due process and whether non-violators could end up getting caught by the camera’s lens. These issues would need to be resolved before the proposed law could pass and the video camera program could take effect.
Contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
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