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An automated dual stop-arm camera, similar to the one shown here, on the side of a school bus can capture vehicles that illegally pass a bus. 

 Motorists are urged to take note of new laws that went into effect Monday, Oct. 11. House Bills 4202 and 4204 authorize automated “photo cop” school bus passing citations.

 HB 4202 was introduced by Rep. Tyrone Carter (D) on Feb. 10 to permit school districts to install cameras on school buses for the purpose of prosecuting motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus, according to michiganvotes.org.

 House Bill 4202 would amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to do the following:

• Allow a school bus to be equipped with a stop-arm camera system in accordance with the Pupil Transportation Act, which House Bill 4204 would add.

• Require a school that used a stop-arm camera system to provide a video or photograph recorded by a stop-arm camera system for use as evidence in a proceeding for a violation if requested by a law enforcement agency.

• Specify that a photograph or video recorded by a stop-arm camera system would be admissible as evidence in a proceeding for a violation of the Code.

 HB 4204 was introduced by Rep. Greg Van Woerkom (R) on Feb. 10, to permit school districts to install dual “stop-arm” cameras on school buses. The purpose is for prosecuting motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus, or contract with a private vendor to install and operate the cameras. The bill specifies the level of detail that must be captured by these cameras. The bill also repeals a provision that authorizes imposing 100 hours of community service for school bus passing violations.

 Fenton Police Chief Jason Slater said each year the police department receives several documented incidents from Fenton school bus drivers of vehicles illegally passing the bus.  They currently provide registration information as well as a vehicle description.

 “We use this information to identify and charge the responsible driver with failing to stop for a stopped bus displaying flashing red lights,” Slater said. “I fully support equipping school buses with a stop-arm camera capable of recording the dangerous practice of passing a bus during the loading or unloading of children. 

 “The recordings of vehicles failing to stop for the flashing lights would be highly beneficial in court, providing unarguable evidence.”

 Slater added that if the video also captured the registration plate, it could help identify the vehicle and registered owner as sometimes police are given a registration plate that was incorrectly recorded.

 “I think this is a great idea that could help us (police) hold drivers accountable for this dangerous situation,” he said.

 Both bills were passed 102-7 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate. They were signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on July 13.  

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