Drivers in DC keep ‘zipping around’ stopped school buses, officials say. Soon, there will be $500 fines

D.C. is adding cameras to some school bus stop arms, as part of a push to crack down on drivers who don’t slow down when buses are stopped.

To start, stop-arm cameras will be placed on 25 school buses maintained by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. The agency said it has over 600 buses as part of its fleet.

Sharon Kershbaum, acting director of D.C.’s Department of Transportation, said the program is “another element of our safety enhancement efforts.”

“We really want to make sure that drivers are clear, that when the school buses have the stop arm out, and the light’s flashing, that they must stop,” Kershbaum said. “It is illegal to pass when it is. The cameras are a critical tool to ensure that this behavior of people just zipping around, that it stops.”

D.C. bus drivers, she said, have identified drivers failing to stop as a problem.

The buses, Kershbaum said, will capture a video clip of potential violators. Then, that video will get reviewed by two DDOT staff members to confirm there was a violation.

Starting on Monday, the program will launch with a 45-day warning period. During that time, drivers who are caught illegally passing a stopped bus with its stop-arm activated will get a warning.

Once the warning period ends, violators will get a $500 fine.

“This program is so important, because the school buses that OSSE runs, they are carrying some of our most vulnerable residents,” Kershbaum said. “These are students, the vast majority with disabilities, and we know that it is critical that we have vehicles respect the stop-arm camera when it comes out.”

Funding for the cameras is included in part of the agency’s operating budget, Kershbaum said.

“It’s really difficult to capture violators if you’re relying on MPD to be there when it happens,” Kershbaum said. “Cameras are really the best safeguard we have to ensure that we’re capturing it and that we’re messaging to the drivers that this behavior has to stop.”

In a statement, Superintendent Christina Grant said the program “is a valuable addition to our initiatives, reinforcing our commitment to providing a secure environment for all children, including those with unique needs.”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up