Sep 9, 2021

School Bus Stop-Arm Camera Laws: Safety Takes a Front Seat as Ohio Kids Head Back to Class

Alert | Education Law Alert

by Patrick B. Healy

Children are returning to in-person learning and legislatures across the nation are working to keep them safe while they travel between home and school. Following a tragic October 2018 accident where a motorist struck and killed three siblings after failing to stop for a waiting school bus, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that dozens of states “enact legislation to permit stop-arm cameras on school buses.” These cameras are designed to automatically take still images or video of persons illegally passing buses or disobeying safety signals when children are getting on or off their school buses. 

In January 2021, the “School Bus Safety Act” (Senate Bill 23) was introduced in the Ohio Senate, calling for heightened penalties for motorists who disobey school bus signals, and authorizing districts to install stop-arm cameras on buses.  The bill is currently being debated in Senate committee.

The bottom line is that school districts and private bus companies providing transportation services for schools and children must stay informed regarding these new legislative efforts to increase student safety. Insurers have not indicated whether they will offer discounts on insurance premiums to school districts that voluntarily outfit their bus fleets with costly traffic cameras.  

Further, private bus companies who provide services to schools may eventually be compelled to outfit their buses with camera systems to comply with new district-specific safety requirements. Regardless, motorists must always exercise caution to keep children safe. 

Should you have any questions or concerns about this or other school-safety topics, please reach out to any member of our terrific team of dedicated Education Law attorneys. It would be our pleasure to assist. 

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