Cameras on school buses: essential for safety of children

March 25, 2011

Using cameras to catch those who pass stopped school buses is essential for our kids' safety.

According to Michael Dresser's article ("Bills would put ticketing cameras on school buses," March 20) the General Assembly is considering a bill that would allow impatient drivers to be held accountable for their disregard for our kids' safety.

Putting ticketing cameras on school buses would help improve children's safety when entering and departing their school bus. There are studies that show the law is being broken over 7,000 times per day in Maryland. The occurrences were more frequent in urban areas compared to rural areas. Mr. Dresser's article mentioned that a recent survey performed by school bus drivers showed that over 4,000 of the drivers violating the law are approaching the bus in the opposite lane.

But members of the Senate committee considering the legislation are not rushing to pass it. There are politicians, school bus drivers and even a private organization called "Stop Big Brother MD" involved in this debate. What a fair punishment is for passing a school bus illegally is one of the most sensitive subjects. Currently there is a $570 fine along with three points on your license if the driver does not contest the ticket, and a $1,000 fine for drivers who think they can justify their actions by going to court.

I strongly recommend that this legislation become a law in Maryland and the penalty be $775 with four points added to an offender's license. The ticketing cameras on school buses are essential for our kids' safety. This may also give parents peace of mind each day as they kiss their kids goodbye.

The possibility of receiving a ticket by mail for $750 and four points on their license would have drivers rethinking their actions. Waiting for a few minutes is much cheaper than going to court or paying more for insurance.

Colyn Lowe Chin, Hyattsville

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