I have to admit that I love this legislation…here is the press release:

County Executive Ball Pre-Files Legislation For School Bus Cameras

ELLICOTT CITY – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today pre-filed legislation to authorize cameras on school buses to catch drivers who pass the buses as they stop to pick up or drop off children. These unsafe and illegal driving habits put students’ lives at risk. This legislation would allow the police department to issue civil citations for violations, serving as a deterrent and accountability measure to promote public safety. The proposed bill can be found here.

“Nothing is more important the safety of our kids,” said Ball. “This measure is about enforcing the law, so every parent feels comfortable sending their child to the bus stop. I appreciate the support of Police Chief Myers, Superintendent Martirano, and the Board of Education in moving this measure forward and I am ready to work with the council to make it a reality.”

On just a single day of monitoring, the school system tracked 290 motorists who failed to stop at school buses as children were being picked up or dropped off. In March, the Howard County Board of Education voted unanimously to forward its support of the cameras to the County Council. 

“Children deserve safe access and transportation to their schools. When it comes to bus safety, Howard County should work to deter and penalize those who put our kids in harm’s way,” said Council Chair Christiana Mercer Rigby. “I am pleased to see six months of collaborative work come together for this bill, and I am happy to be co-introducing it with County Executive Ball.”

“I am extremely excited to join my colleagues and County Executive Ball to co-sponsor this significant legislation to protect our children,” said Council Vice Chair Opel Jones. “As a motorist I see countless drivers dismiss school bus caution signals for students exiting at their designated stops. This bill will cite violators with a fine and ensure the safety of our students.”

“I have heard the harrowing accounts of near misses at our kids’ school bus stops,” said Councilmember Liz Walsh. “Even one is too many.”

“The use of camera enforcement technology has been proven effective in Howard County with red-light and speed enforcement,” said Police Chief Lisa Myers. “Deploying cameras on school buses will be an additional tool for law enforcement to help protect students from motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.” 

“The number of motorists that fail to stop for busses that are picking up and dropping off children on any given day is deeply troubling,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano. “I support and greatly appreciate this partnership with Dr. Ball, the County Council, and the Howard County Police Department to ensure our children are safe at school bus stops.

“The Board of Education recently voted in support of this initiative and I am extremely pleased that Dr. Ball is moving this important legislation forward,” said HCPSS Board Chair Mavis Ellis. “The safety of our children remains our top priority and this effort will help us expand our collaborative safety efforts beyond the school campus and into the community where children are being picked up and dropped off.”

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Seriously if you are driving past stopped school buses while they are picking up or dropping off kids…you deserve a ticket…and I am cool with these cameras.

Of course the devil is always in the details and I want to know more about how these cameras work. I hope the county and/or the school systems provides additional details in the near future.

I hope this legislation passes 5 – 0…and if not…I will seriously question why.

Scott E

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