Cameras Could Nab Drivers Passing School Buses

Florida school districts could use camera systems to capture images of drivers who illegally pass school buses, under a measure passed Monday by the Senate. The bill (SB 766) would authorize districts to install “school bus infraction detection” systems on buses. Drivers whose images are captured illegally passing buses would face a $225 civil penalty.

Senators voted 35-5 to pass the measure, with five Republicans casting dissenting votes. A similar House bill (HB 741) awaits action by the full House.

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If the proposal is ultimately signed into law, school districts would be required to publicly announce that they plan to use the camera systems and conduct a “public awareness campaign” before beginning enforcement. Districts also would have to post “high-visibility reflective signage” on the rear of each school bus with detection systems.

The signs would have to include the words “camera enforced.” Senate bill sponsor Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, pointed to a state Department of Education survey that showed on a single day, motorists made 7,867 illegal passes, based on the observations of 6,416 school bus drivers.

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“So it’s a really big problem, there’s been a number of very tragic incidents that have happened across the state,” Burgess said. “So I believe that this is a measured yet important method of enforcing a very serious safety situation.”

Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island; Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill; Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville; Sen. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City; and Sen Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, voted against the measure.

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