MADISON, Ala.(WHNT)- Most drivers tend to put on the brakes when they see stop signs out on the road, but state lawmakers say many motorists take a much different attitude toward the swing-out stop sign found on Alabama school buses.
The Alabama Senate passed SB 144 on Tuesday, a proposal that would equip school buses with automated traffic cameras. Proponents say the cameras will cut down on the number of motorists who try to swerve by school buses while loading or unloading children.
School officials in Madison said two different incidents of illegal bus passing by motorists in the last week highlight the need to pass the legislation. Several other states have already enacted similar laws.
“They get in a hurry, and they don’t care about anything else other than getting to where they want to be,” said Bobby Jackson, Director of Transportation for Madison City Schools. “A lot of people think they can just circumvent the law.”
Jackson said one of the two incidents involved a special needs student who was getting off the bus stop by their home on Wall-Triana Highway.
“One of our special needs buses had stopped to get a wheelchair off the bus, and this car just decided they didn’t want to wait, so they went around the bus,” said Jackson. “They’re creating a big risk for maybe killing a child…They [bus drivers] wouldn’t be having to try to get a tag number or description of the car. It [camera] takes a picture of it, you got it right there, and there’s no question about whether they ran it or not.”
The proposed law does not require school boards to install traffic cameras on buses, but does allow them the option.
SB 144 states that school systems can share revenue collected from bus violation fines with the local county or municipal government and the Alabama Department of Public Safety.