From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
TRUSSVILLE – You may notice more presence of Trussville Police patrolling the roadway before and after school hours in the Trussville area. The reason is that the Trussville Police Department and Trussville City Schools have joined together to ensure the safety of students riding school buses and are reaching out to the community to let them know that passing a stopped school bus not only puts the child in danger, but can also be deadly.
“Anytime a bus has lights and signs activated at a stop, please remember that there will be children either getting off the bus or standing on the ground waiting for the bus,” TCS administration said. “This is the most vulnerable time for our students who are transported by bus. TCS continually works to ensure the safety of our students. One tool used to ensure the safety of transported students is stop sign cameras for buses.”
When a bus stops to pick up or let students off the bus, red lights flash and both the arm and stop sign are engaged on the outside of the bus. The stop sign camera’s video is active on the outside of the school bus.
When a vehicle ignores and does not stop once the bus lights and signs are engaged, the bus driver reports the incident to the Trussville City School Transportation Department. Video footage from the school bus cameras are pulled and the Trussville Police Department is notified of the offense. Once a Trussville Police officer reviews the footage of the traffic infraction, a ticket is issued based upon the tag number of the automobile.
“The fine for passing a school bus with the stop sign extended is up to $500, and court is required for the judge to set the fine,” Police Chief Eric Rush said. “To date, Trussville Police Department has issued 15 tickets for this offense.”
Alabama law §32-5A-154, forbids drivers from passing a stopped school or church bus on any road. The only exception would be drivers travelling on a divided highway of at least four lanes, provided the driver is on the opposite side of the thoroughfare from the stopped bus. The law also established a uniform penalty statewide for motorists who illegally pass stopped buses.
- First offense: Result in a fine of $150 to $300.
- Second offense: Result in a fine of $300 to $500, a suspension of the violator’s drivers license for 30 days and 100 hours of community service.
- Third offense: Result in a fine of $500 to $1,000, a license suspension of 90 days and 200 hours of community service.
- Fourth offense: Offenders will be prosecuted as a Class C felony, with a conviction punishable by a $1,000 to $3,000 fine and a one-year license suspension.
“Please help us keep our students safe by coming to a complete stop for loading or unloading of school buses,” TCS administration said. “The few minutes you might save by not stopping is simply not worth the risk to our students.”