Agenda Item 19
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Bill 37-11, Motor Vehicles and Traffic
School Bus Safety Cameras
Public Safety Committee recommendation (3-0): approve the Bill as introduced.
Bill 37-11, Motor Vehicles and Traffic - School Bus Safety Cameras, sponsored by
Councilmembers Ervin, Andrews and Rice, Council President Berliner, Councilmember EIrich,
Council Vice President Navarro, and Councilmembers Riemer and Floreen, was introduced on
November 29, 2011. A public hearing was held on January 24 and a Public Safety Committee
worksession was held on February 2.
Bill 37-11 would authorize the Police Chief, after consulting with the Board of
Education, to install, maintain, and operate cameras on County school buses to monitor vehicles
passing a stopped school bus. Councilmember Valerie Ervin explained the purpose of this Bill in
a November 22 memorandum at ©4-5. Maryland Transportation Article, §21-706 prohibits a
vehicle from overtaking a stopped school bus that is operating its alternately flashing red lights.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recently surveyed violations of this law
throughout the State and looked at similar laws in other States. See the MSDE press release at
©6-S. Chapter 273, 2011 Laws of Maryland, effective October 1, 2011, (©9-20) authorized a
local law enforcement agency to use school bus safety cameras to enforce this State law if the
agency is authorized by a local law enacted by the governing body of the local jurisdiction. Bill
37-11 is an enabling act that would implement this authority in the County.
A violation of §21-706 recorded by a school bus safety camera would be punishable by a
civil penalty established by Method 2 Executive regulation up to a maximum of $250. A
recorded image indicating a violation is evidence of a violation similar to a violation recorded by
a red light camera or a speed monitoring camera. A person who receives a citation can contest it
in the District Court. Pursuant to State law, fines paid without electing to stand trial in the
District Court are retained by the County to defray the costs of the program. Fines paid after trial
in the District Court would be retained by the State. A violation for which a civil penalty is
imposed under this Bill would not be a moving violation for the purpose of assessing points
against a driver's record under State law.
The County would have to pay the initial cost to purchase the camera and install it on a
school bus. The Bill would authorize the Police Chief to use this program; however, the extent
of the initial rollout would depend upon the initial cost and available funds.