SC school bus cameras can be used to write tickets - FOX Carolina 21

SC school bus cameras can be used to write tickets

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A camera on a South Carolina school bus. (Aug. 7, 2014/FOX Carolina) A camera on a South Carolina school bus. (Aug. 7, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Cameras on a South Carolina school bus. (Aug. 7, 2014/FOX Carolina) Cameras on a South Carolina school bus. (Aug. 7, 2014/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

A new law means drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus in South Carolina are more likely to get hit in the wallet.

The law allows law enforcement to write traffic tickets after reviewing video captured by cameras installed on school buses. Previously, an officer had to personally witness the illegal passing to prosecute -- unless injuries resulted and boosted the charge to a felony.

Sen. Thomas Alexander says the lack of consequences contributed to a growing problem he feared would result in tragedy. The Walhalla Republican says he hopes the new law encourages compliance.

Districts around the state are installing exterior camera systems on a pilot basis. They consist of several cameras that videotape different angles of a passing vehicle, to identify the license plate and the driver.

Alexander was in Greenville on Thursday to announces the new legislation.

Since 2013, the Highway Patrol said they have received 540 complaints about drivers passing stopped school bus and have issued 159 citations for disregarding a stop arm.

With the new law in place, school districts will notify the Highway Patrol of violations, who will then send a letter to the registered vehicle owner notifying them of the violation. Then the appropriate law enforcement agency would make the appropriate charges. 

A first offense could result in a minimum fine of $500 plus court fees, reaching up to $1,000 plus six points on the offender's license. The minimum fine for a second offense is $2,000 and six points on the driver's record.

Drivers headed in both directions must stop for a school bus on a two-lane roadway. On a four-lane or more roadway, drivers headed in the same direction of the bus must stop.

Copyright 2014 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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