Senate again agrees to school bus cameras to catch motorists

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The idea of catching drivers passing school buses unlawfully with cameras and issuing monetary penalties based on photos or video is advancing again at the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in favor of letting counties pass ordinances imposing penalties and letting school districts install and operate bus stop-arm cameras themselves or through a vendor. A similar Senate bill passed in 2015.

Supporters say the measure could save school children from death and injury by deterring motorists from breaking the law that prohibits motorists from passing stopped buses with their stop-arms open or lights flashing.

First-time penalties are $400, but then can rise to $1,000 on a third offense. Criminal prosecution is still possible, with videos provided to law enforcement.

The bill now goes to the House.