Pass a stopped DC school bus with its stop-arm activated? Prepare for $500 fine

The District’s bite on drivers who don’t slow down when school buses are stopped is now $500 sharper.

D.C.’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) said ticketing for the Stop-Arm Safety Program began Saturday.

This move follows a 45-day warning period, which launched April 29, when drivers who were caught illegally passing a stopped bus with its stop-arm activated received only a warning.

D.C. placed stop-arm cameras on 25 school buses maintained by OSSE, with a fleet that includes over 600 buses.

DDOT acting director Sharon Kershbaum said the program demonstrates the department’s commitment “to the safety of all our students, every day, particularly the thousands of students with disabilities who receive bus transportation to access their education.”

She said it “aligns seamlessly with the District’s commitment to Vision Zero, aiming to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by promoting safe behaviors and implementing innovative safety measures, and helps ensure the safety of our most vulnerable students.”

Citations will now be issued for motorists who illegally pass a stopped OSSE school bus with its stop-arm activated. DDOT says it will review videos of violations and license plate images for verification before issuing a warning or notice of infraction.

Violators face a $500 fine, according to a DDOT news release.

In neighboring Maryland, violation of these laws brings a $250 fine if caught on camera. If stopped by a police officer, the fine can be up to $570 and be accompanied by a three-point driver’s license penalty.

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Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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