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Kentucky School bus camera bill aimed at catching passing motorists

House Transportation Committee 2-27-24
Stu Johnson
House Transportation Committee 2-27-24

Putting cameras outside Kentucky school buses is found in a bill moving in the State House. This latest version doesn’t call for a local mandate as contained in a bill two years ago.

The legislation allows school districts to install cameras on stop-arms on buses. They would be intended to record vehicles passing when a stop arm is extended. Wellington GOP Representative David Hale said the cost to cover the state’s 8000 school buses would be about $17 million.

 “I do believe that if we can pass this we will have or we can have companies, vendors that will come into this state and pay for this,” said Hale.

Under that scenario, Hale said vendors could recoup costs through fines leveled at violators. Hale said very few school districts currently are using stop-arm cameras.

Casting an "aye" vote in committee was Earlington GOP Representative Wade Williams. He said as a former law enforcement officer he knows how difficult it is to enforce this.

“Bus drivers dealing with students, trying to get kids off and trying to catch a license plate and they might not know if it’s a silver car or a gray car or whatever it is. And I think this does a good job in capturing that and hopefully increasing the enforcement of that,” said Williams.

Hale noted a one-day poll of more than 28 hundred school bus drivers found 475 illegal passes. Hale added over one year there were 138 convictions statewide.

Although voting yes, Danville GOP Representative Daniel Elliot said he wished the cases would go directly to district court instead of through a code enforcement office. Hale said that would be the case in many counties where there is not a code enforcement office.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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