BETHEL PARK, Pa. - A bill that encourages Pennsylvania school districts to purchase stop-arm cameras for their school buses was approved by the state Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday.
The cameras automatically photograph and ticket anyone who passes a school bus while it’s stopped to pick up or drop off students.
The Bethel Park School District has five buses with stop arm cameras and plans to buy more as a proposal moves through the state to encourage other districts to do the same.
"The school bus drivers, they already have their attention focused on making sure the children on the bus are safe," said Sen. Guy Reschenthaler of the 37th District. "What these cameras will do is if someone overtakes a school bus or violates a don't pass, that camera will capture the make of the vehicle."
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He is a co-sponsor of a bill that encourages school districts in Pennsylvania to purchase stop arm cameras.
Drivers could face a hefty $250 fine, a 60-day suspension and five points on their driving record.
According to the proposal, school districts would buy the cameras on their own, then make up some of that money through the fines issued.
But not everyone is convinced they're worth the cost and believes camera companies are going after schools because the companies are desperate for money.
"Because they're losing so many red light camera contracts as they're being closed down." said James Walker with the National Motorist Association.
When the Bethel Park School District installed the cameras last month, they caught five drivers in one week.
"That's a good thing," said Vicki Fiotta, spokesperson for the district. "That might be five children who didn't get hit by a car."
The legislation is now headed to the Senate floor for a vote.
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