House committee approves cameras on buses
This week, the House Judiciary III committee deliberated a bill that would allow a board of county commissioners to adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of school bus safety cameras for the civil enforcement of G.S. 20-217. This provision requires motor vehicles to stop for a school bus that is displaying a mechanical stop arm while stopped in order to board or discharge students.
(School Bus Camera/Civil Penalties) provides that a county may enact an ordinance to impose civil penalties against a driver who passes a stopped school bus in violation of G.S. 20-217 when the violation is not prosecuted criminally. The bill provides for a penalty of $400 for the first offense, $750 for the second, and $1,000 for any subsequent offense. A civil penalty for violating the ordinance may not be imposed on an individual who is charged with a criminal violation under G.S. 20-217 based on the same facts.
authorizes the local school board in a county that has adopted an ordinance to civilly enforce G.S. 20-217 to install and operate automated school bus safety cameras on its buses to detect violations. The school board itself may equip the buses with cameras or it may contract with a private vendor for this purpose. All fines assessed under the ordinance will be remitted to the county school system.
Rep. Ed Hanes, who sponsored House companion H536
, told the committee that the purpose of the bill is to improve public safety and protect the lives of children. Hanes said that similar laws passed in other states have worked to reduce the number of violations.
Rep. Skip Stam spoke in opposition to S298
. He said H355
(Evidence Passed Vehicle is a School Bus), which passed the House unanimously, would improve existing law and result in more effective prosecutions for violations of G.S. 20-217. H355
is currently in Senate Rules. It is not known whether the bill will be heard.
After a full debate, the House Judiciary III committee voted 8-3 to give S298
a favorable report. The bill has been re-referred to Appropriations.