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School bus cameras to catch stop sign law breakers?

School bus cameras to catch stop sign law breakers?

By Matt Grant. CREATED Feb 8, 2012

LEE COUNTY - A Fox 4 investigation capturing driver after driving putting your children in danger by going around stopped school buses - but the next camera to catch them in the act could have more serious consequences.

A bill working its way through the state senate would let school districts install cameras on the side of buses activated only when the stop arm is extended.

"It's really not Big Brother watching you," said the bill's sponsor Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Dade). "It's the driver watching you."

Similar to red light cameras, a picture of your vehicle's license plate would be captured and violators ticketed - a $264 fine and four points on your license.

"Stopping people from running over children is very important," said Braynon. "And I think it would be for most people."

In Florida, 8900 cars illegally pass stopped school buses every day, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Lee County School Board Chairperson Mary Fischer thinks the idea is good in principle.

"The concept is good," she said. "I'm concerned about how would we pay for that?"

Funding is a major concern for Fischer who isn't sure how the district would cover the cost.

"I think that could be controversial," said Fischer. "Because of the fact that it's a costly issue."

Braynon says the cameras would not be mandatory. School districts that are interested would have to find their own funding.

No word on what the cameras would cost.

"If they don't find the funding," said Braynon, "they don't have to do it."

If a bus driver writes down the license plate of a stop sign violator, that person will be issued a ticket. Braynon says this would make their jobs easier while keeping kids safe.

The bill passed the Senate's Transportation Committee Tuesday. It has two more committees to go through before it gets to the House.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com