Maryland Increases Fine for Passing Stopped School BusesJuly 18, 2019
Earlier this month, Maryland passed new legislation permanently increasing the fine for motorists passing a stopped school bus. Drivers stopped by police for passing a stopped school bus with flashing red lights will receive a $500 fine. Drivers caught on camera passing a school bus will receive a $250 fine. Montgomery County stop-arm cameras recorded nearly 800 to 1,200 vehicles passing stopped school buses in a single day. Legislators hope increased penalties will reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries to children throughout the state.
Just last year in Charles County, a woman driving a pickup truck hit a seven-year-old girl getting off the school bus, leaving the child with critical injuries. Witnesses at the scene verified the bus was stopped with its flashing lights and stop arm sign engaged. As the child crossed the street, the oncoming truck struck her in front of her home.
Sadly, this driver’s negligence is far from uncommon. In less than three years, the bus camera program at Montgomery County Public Schools has issued close to 100,000 citations. Based on the success of the school bus arm camera program in Montgomery County alone, Maryland traffic safety advocates are looking to expand the initiative throughout the state. Fines seem to be an effective deterrent so far; less than five percent of drivers stopped are repeat offenders.
What to Do When Approaching a Stopped School Bus
The law regarding stopped school buses is clear. Take these steps when approaching a school bus that has stopped to load or unload passengers:
- Two-lane highway: All traffic from both directions stops.
- Two-lane highway with center turning lane: All traffic from both directions stops.
- Four-lane highway without median: All traffic from both directions stops.
- Divided highway of four or more lanes, with a median: Only traffic following the bus is required to stop.
Bus Accident Claims in Maryland
While reckless drivers are sometimes responsible for school bus accidents and injuries, that is not always the case in all crashes. Sometimes fault lies with the bus driver. Bus operators who are distracted, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or drive aggressively endanger passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians in the vicinity. Mechanical problems are another common cause of tragic bus accidents. Unsafe or defective equipment can also malfunction, rendering buses out-of-control and endangering others. Victims of school bus accidents often face overwhelming physical pain and suffering, medical costs, and reduced quality of life. To recover compensation for these life-changing losses, it is advised to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman, & Hamilton Fight for Victims Injured in All Types of Car Accidents
Like commercial tractor trailers, the sheer size, weight, and power of a bus can cause devastating injuries in an accident. If you or someone you love was hurt in a bus crash, trust the skilled Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman, & Hamilton to manage your case and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online today.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.