A Virginia state lawmaker has proposed a legislative fix that would allow police departments to mail summonses to drivers caught on camera illegally passing school buses.
Under a state law, Falls Church and Arlington County had been using school-bus cameras, which take images of drivers passing buses when they are loading and unloading children, and fining violators. In October, the two Northern Virginia districts stopped issuing the $250 summonses after Attorney General Mark R. Herring ruled that the summonses had to be hand-delivered by police to the drivers’ homes.
Authorities determined that hand-delivering the summonses would have been too time-consuming and costly. Advocates of the programs say camera enforcement is important because it not only catches drivers who are putting children in danger but also acts as a deterrent.
In his opinion, issued Oct. 2, Herring wrote that the state legislature never explicitly gave police the authority to mail summonses for school-bus camera violations.
Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) has introduced legislation that would add language to the law spelling out that police have the authority to issue the summonses by mail. It will be considered in the next legislative session, which starts in early 2016.
“School-bus cameras sadly are very important because more and more drivers don’t stop, don’t obey the law, when they’re passing a school bus,” Kory said. “It’s very important to be able to enforce the law.”