SB 961 Motor Vehicles - School Bus Monitoring Cameras - Issuance of Citations
BILL: SB 961
TITLE: Motor Vehicles - School Bus Monitoring Cameras - Issuance of Citations
DATE: March 21, 2023
COMMITTEE: Judicial Proceedings
CONTACT: Mary Pat Fannon, Executive Director, PSSAM
The Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM), on behalf of all twenty-four local school superintendents, supports Senate Bill 961.
Senate Bill 961 would extend the time period within which a law enforcement agency is required to mail certain citations for violations recorded by school bus monitoring cameras from two weeks to thirty days.
Maryland’s superintendents support this change in statute in order to promote awareness of school bus traffic violations and advocate for student safety. Currently, there are four major state automated ticketing programs -- red light, speed enforcement, height monitoring, and school bus stop-arm. Of these four programs, only school bus stop-arm violations are given a maximum of two weeks to complete their review process and have the violation postmarked by USPS. Red light, speed enforcement, and height monitoring violations, however, all provide some version of a thirty-day time frame to process citations.
The current two-week time restriction inhibits courts from fully processing citations for all school bus stop-arm traffic violations. In order to fully process a citation from a violation recorded on a school bus monitoring camera, the vendor has to first gather data from the equipment under the school system's control, prepare it, and then send it to law enforcement. Local law enforcement then has to review the data and determine whether to issue the citation. Currently, some offenders do not get citations for running school bus stop arms simply because two weeks does not afford enough time to get the citation in the mail after the entire process is complete. Because of this, many would-be recipients of traffic citations never receive any notification of their violation. Without a citation informing them of their violation, many drivers will continue to commit these traffic violations. This issue clearly poses a risk to the wellbeing and safety of Maryland’s students.
Senate Bill 961 would put the State of Maryland in line with New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Connecticut, which allow for all violations to be processed within at least 20 (and preferably 30) days. This change in statute would allow adequate time for the additional steps needed in the school bus camera process that the other automated ticketing enforcement programs do not have to deal with, including breaks in the school calendar, holidays, and limited business hours of transportation or security services departments.
For these reasons, PSSAM supports Senate Bill 961 and requests a favorable report.