Drivers are reminded to be alert for school bus stop arms as children return to school.
Cameras are installed on the driver’s side of school buses. When a vehicle passes a bus illegally, multiple photos of the automobile are taken.
According to Texas law, “A vehicle must come to a complete stop behind the stop arm of an unloading school bus. Unless there is a raised median separating opposing traffic (turn lanes do not fall into this category), traffic traveling opposite the school bus must come to a complete stop as well, and all traffic must wait until the stop arm is retracted to continue.”
The cameras capture traffic activity passing the school bus in both directions and are reviewed by the Dallas County Schools Police Department to verify if the law was broken.
Citations for $300 are mailed to vehicle owners who pass a school bus illegally. The offense is a civil citation and not a criminal, so it does not affect the vehicle owner’s driving record. If not paid within 30 days, a $25 late payment and other penalties are assessed.
The Dallas Independent School District conducted various traffic studies about the frequency of vehicles passing stopped school buses before installing the cameras.
Along with the Texas Transportation Institute, it is estimated that 16,450 illegal passings occur each day in Texas. According to the data collected, “if this number is multiplied by the number of school days in a typical school year (180), then an estimated 2.96 million stop-arm violations will occur during a typical school year in Texas.”