Shelby County beefs up security to protect students at bus stops

Shelby County Schools are teaming up with local law enforcement to protect students at bus stops. (File)

Shelby County Schools are teaming up with local law enforcement to protect students at bus stops. (File)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

In a hurry and want to pass a school bus? You might want to rethink that unless you want to pay a hefty fine and possible driver’s license suspension.

The Shelby County School District is teaming up with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies to protect students at bus stops.  The most recent guidelines allow school bus drivers to report drivers when they illegally pass a school bus when the stop arm is out.

Many of the buses in Shelby County are equipped with external cameras that record the license plate of a vehicle when it passes through the stop arm.  This video is then copied and sent to the local law enforcement agency so that a citation can be sent to the driver of the vehicle.

The consequences for illegal passing are as follows: First offense results in a $150-300 fine, second offense results in a $300-500 fine, 100 hours of community service and a 30 day driver license suspension. The third offense results in a $500-1,000 Fine, 200 hours community service and a 90-day driver license suspension. The fourth violation results in a $1,000 – 3,000 Fine, Class “C” Felony and a one-year driver license suspension.

According to Shelby County Transportation Supervisor Brent Copes, the only situation that does not require a vehicle to stop is when it is heading the opposite direction of a bus and there is a median separating the traffic.

The new school bus law was adopted on Oct. 1, 2006 but did not include the ability to record the license plate of a vehicle when it passes through the stop arm.

For more information please call the Shelby County School’s Transportation Department at 682-7130.