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School bus cameras bill to be reintroduced in 2013 legislative session

5:57 PM, Mar 2, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A bill will once again go before Florida House and Senate committees to install cameras on school buses and ticket illegal passers.

At the end of 2011, First Coast News launched an investigation into drivers recklessly driving near school buses, putting local children in danger. On just 3 stops, we caught 6 drivers speeding by stopped buses, and 12 ignoring the yellow warning lights - going faster to get by the bus before it stops, rather than slowing down as they're supposed to.

"We've had incidents where they almost got hit by a car," said school bus driver Ms. Brooke. "And, you know, then you have to worry about getting hit from behind... Sometimes it takes other vehicle's drivers to blow their horns to try to get the traffic to stop."

It's a problem state legislators are hoping to fix, once again introducing a bill to install cameras on buses to capture the license plate of stop arm violators and ticket the owner of the vehicle.

"Nowhere you're going to is so important that it should put a child's life at risk," Florida Senator Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Gardens), who is sponsoring the bill, has said.

If the bill passes, it'll be up to school districts to get the cameras. It's a move Georgia districts are already trying out. In Camden County, starting March 16th, if drivers pass a stopped bus, they can expect a ticket in the mail. As far as funding is concerned, vendors would install the cameras, and the money from tickets would pay for the installation.

The 2013 legislative session starts next week. Braynon is once again sponsoring the bill. It's Senate Bill 950. Florida State Representative Ed Hooper from Clearwater is the House sponsor of House Bill 669.

Local representative Daniel Davis is the chairman of the House committee that will be hearing the House bill first. So if you support or oppose the bill's passing, you can find their contact information below.

Senator Oscar Braynon

Representative Ed Hooper

Representative Daniel Davis

First Coast News

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