Oregon school districts won’t have to decide whether to outfit school buses with video cameras to record law-breaking drivers who fail to stop when the red lights are on. A bill to allow this has died.
House Bill 2460 would have allowed police to issue tickets based on video recordings of drivers who fail to stop for school bus safety lights, a violation that’s said to be all too common in some places (though I haven’t seen it lately). The bill would have authorized school bus drivers to operate video cameras on their buses to record such violations.
As a general rule, police officers have to witness a violation in order for a citation to be issued. Exceptions are red-light and photo-radar cameras, where violations can be cited based on recorded images, but the images have to be reviewed by the police. HB 2460 would have applied the same idea to school bus video cameras.
A couple of school bus drivers from Yamhill and Marion counties urged legislators to pass the bill when the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Feb. 13. But officials from the Oregon Department of Education were neutral on the bill. And the committee took no action by the deadline last week.
Passing a stopped school bus when the safety lights are activated is a Class A traffic violation, the most serious kind, and the presumptive fine is $435. Fine or not, and video or no video, it’s a stupid idea. A child could get hurt. So when those lights go on, just stop and wait. (hh)