SOUTHERN MARYLAND - As parents and children prepare to return to school, local and state police announced their intentions to keep a vigilant eye out for motorists who don't drive safely in the presence of stopped school buses.
It is the responsibility of every driver to exercise caution, especially when children are involved, and motorists should be prepared to stop quickly while driving anywhere near a school bus, said Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. In the coming days, troopers, deputies and officers across the State will be carefully watching for drivers not paying attention near school bus stops.
In June, the Department of Maryland State Police announced the award of $522,000 in grants from the School Bus Enforcement Fund, established by the Maryland General Assembly in 2000, under Article 88B, Section 83. The funds from these grants are to be used by State and local police departments to enforce Maryland traffic laws related to school bus safety. Police departments will use the grant funds to place officers, deputies and troopers working overtime on special school bus patrols.
An additional $28,000 of supplemental grant awards will be distributed among law enforcement agencies that have the highest number of motorists who pass stopped school buses with their flashing red lights activated, in violation of Transportation Article, Title 21-706 of the Maryland Vehicle Law. The Department of Maryland State Police expects to award additional these funds in January through May 2008.
Police commanders across the state have directed their personnel to be particularly vigilant for violators of school bus laws. The violation most commonly observed by police continues to be motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights of school buses. When those lights are flashing, children are either boarding or disembarking from the bus, and in many instances, children are crossing the roadway.
Police officers, who observe a motorist failing to stop and remain stopped for a school bus, can issue the violator a citation which carries a $570 fine and 3 points. Drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk can be issued a citation for $80 and drivers failing to exercise due caution when encountering children can be issued a citation for $70.