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County to allow cameras on school bus stop arms to deter violators

In an effort to deter drivers from passing school buses that have the stop arm extended for passenger boarding and unloading, new Monroe County legislation will allow fines to violators captured by camera.

Stop-arm cameras will provide images, with fines sent to the registered owner.

“The health and safety of all our neighbors, particularly our children, is my top priority — and this law will ensure our kids are safer as they walk to and from their school bus,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said in a news release.

School districts are allowed to enter into an agreement with the county, which will collaborate with a third-party contractor to install and maintain the cameras at no added cost to the school or taxpayers.

“I encourage all school districts throughout Monroe County to take advantage of this free program for their students,” Bello said. “Thank you to my colleagues in the Monroe County Legislature for prioritizing our children’s safety.”

State law prohibits motorists from passing a school bus that has the stop arm extended and red lights activated. But a ticket can only be issued if the offense is observed by law enforcement.

The state recently passes legislation allowing localities and school districts to install cameras to capture license plates of cars that illegally pass a bus.

Photos will be verified by the Monroe County Department of Public Safety and tickets will be sent to the vehicle owner. A similar process was used with red-light cameras in the city of Rochester from 2010 through the end of 2016, when the program was abandoned.

The fines associated with the school-bus camera program aren’t considered moving violations, and no points are added to a driver’s license.

The fine is $250 for the first violation, $275 for the second within 18 months, and $300 for a third, as well as all subsequent violations in an 18-month period. A $25 late fee will be added if the fine is not paid within the prescribed time.

“An average of 19 school-age passengers are killed getting on and off the bus each year across the nation — our students’ safety is non-negotiable,” said Casey Kosiorek, president of the Monroe County Council of Superintendents. “The Monroe County Council of School Superintendents is grateful to County Executive Bello and the Monroe County Legislature for this new legislation that will deter motorists from passing a stopped school bus.”

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