Ari Ashe, wtop.com
WASHINGTON — Frederick County lawmakers have unanimously approved a plan to increase the potential fine for drivers illegally passing school buses to $250.
The 4-0 vote came after a short debate at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Maryland has seen a serious problem and we recognized our officers cannot follow every single school bus on the road,” says Commission President Blaine Young.
The law would allow citations to be issued from a school bus camera, although only about a dozen currently are active.
Young hopes to increase that number to 40 or 50, out of 433 total buses.
The law doesn’t actually require every offender to get a $250 ticket, the precise amount will be set by the court system.
“Obviously, I think it should be set at the maximum because aggressive driving is become a big problem,” Young says.
“I don’t know what goes through someone’s mind passing a school bus. I cannot imagine many judges giving leniency when the bus has all the hazard lights on and the stop sign out.”
One a single day in 2011, a statewide survey found 7,200 school bus violations.
Under Maryland law, if a police officer catches a driver passing a school bus, it’s three points on your license and a ticket over $500.
If caught on a camera, there would be no points accompanying the $250 ticket.
Young said he would like to see the money go to hiring more school crossing guards.
The Montgomery County Council plans to vote on a similar proposal, introduced by Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, in the coming weeks.
Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
WTOP breaks down fun things to see and do around the D.C. area this month.