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Cameras Mounted on Buses May Be New Law Enforcement Weapon

HB 1580 introduced by PA Legislature would officially sanction the use of cameras mounted on bus swing arms in aid of catching violators.

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In a prior article, I had detailed the criminal penalty for "failing to stop for a school bus with signals activated." (See link to article). Besides the deep feeling of remorse, tack on a 60 day loss of driving privileges, a $250 fine, and 5 points on your license. That's just one shy of an administrative hearing or possible additional suspension penalties.

The State Legislature has now put forth legislation that would allow the use of a camera attached to the exterior of the bus in order to identify the would-be violator. By law, the school bus driver must submit a report within 48 hours to the police, detailing the make, model and license number of the vehicle. The determination of who was driving is always an issue. But, the use of a camera may now solve that issue for law enforcement agencies. (See link to article) originally posted in the Reading Eagle). The camera may also help to partially or fully exonerate the individual as well.

As a defense attorney, my clients often say "the lights weren't red when I passed the bus, they were yellow." Or, "I was right next to the bus when the lights turned red, I couldn't go anywhere and I thought I was in the way, so I moved." The video footage should now clearly show whether or not the defense testimony is supported. This may eventually alleviate a bunch of cases that weren't properly charged with this violation.

If you've been cited for "Meeting or Overtaking a School Bus" know that the penalties are severe. Don't just plead "guilty" because you think you were in the wrong. There are other avenues to address this citation, even if you were in the wrong. You may contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC (717) 268-4287.

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