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Drivers Cited for Passing School Buses

Penalties range from a fine to a license suspension for passing school bus stop-arms.

officers cited three drivers on the first day of school for not stopping for school bus stop-arms.

Sgt. Dana Pierce said he didn't have any information on citations that might have been issued Tuesday and Wednesday.

This comes a month after the with American Traffic Solutions to issue the citations for failing to stop for the arms, which are designed to protect students entering and leaving buses. The agreement allows ATS to collect $300 from first-time violators.

According to an email from Helen Goreham, other penalties for stop-arm violations include a possible court appearance, a fine up to $1,000, six points on driving record and a license suspension for convicted drivers under 21 years old.

When a stop arm camera catches drivers, the penalties are a $300 fine for the first offense, $750 fine for the second offense and $1,000 fine for the third offense, within a five year period. Last year, stop-arm cameras were installed on 102 local school buses as part of a pilot program. The cameras can catch license plates up to 100 yards away.

No citations have been issued by the , spokesman Scott Luther said. In , police officers have written two tickets for stop-arm violations this week, and in , one citation was issued, an operator said.

Greater stop-arm enforcement was prompted by the 2009 death of 5-year-old Mountain View Elementary School student Karla Campos, who was struck by an elderly driver as she departed a bus. According to Goreham's email, each school bus is illegally passed once every day on average and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 20 children under the age of 19 die every year as pedestrians getting on and off buses.

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