Parents everywhere rely on school buses to transport their kids safely, but in Illinois that safety is a major concern. Rockford school district leaders urge vehicles to stop when buses are dropping off or picking up and state legislators are driving that point home in Springfield.
"The biggest concern is obviously hitting a child while they're crossing." -says District #205 Transportation Coordinator Don West.
State Senators have approved legislation fining drivers who blow past school buses when their stop-arms are out. If the bill passes in the House, school districts will be able to use cameras to catch offenders. They'll get a $150 ticket the first time and $500 every time after. District #205 already uses one stop-arm camera.
"It's kind of a test run to see if it will work to convict people because right now an officer has to see it in order to get the conviction for it." -says West.
This potential law is just in the beginning stages and specifics still need to be ironed out, like who will pay for the cameras? The districts themselves or the state? If it's the schools, that could put the brakes on Rockford getting the equipment.
"Right now it would be out of the district's pocket so I would probably say no depending on how the law was written if the schools would get reimbursed for cameras or something then I could see Rockford taking that step." -West explains.
Even if installing cameras is years away for District #205, West hopes awareness influences people behind the wheel.
"If people think they're on camera maybe they won't run the stop-arm."
Opponents of the bill say it's unconstitutional because people won't be able to fight their tickets in court.
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