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New York Senator Catherine Young introduced a bill currently awaiting further action in a transportation committee that would permit video films of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses to be used as evidence in prosecution of school bus violations.

Under the proposed legislation, private vendors could contract with individual school districts who would handle the installation, maintenance and enforcement issues of the bus cameras which would be mounted in close proximity to the stop arms on the school buses. A special School Bus Safety Education Program funded through the proceeds from violators' fines under New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1174, would also be created.

New York State Assembly Member William Magnarelli is sponsoring Young's proposal. The goal is the increased safety of schoolchildren who are endangered when drivers' ignore buses stopped to allow children safe passage on and off the school buses.

Drivers caught on camera flouting the law by passing stopped buses could be fined $250 to $450 for their first violation. Second and further convictions could cause higher penalties and a two month driver's license suspension. Should a driver cause injury to someone while illegally passing, he faces charges of misdemeanor third degree criminal assault and a year's jail time. A fatality occurring under those circumstances would then become a Class E felony of criminally negligent homicide. Those convicted could serve four years.

If you are facing traffic violations resulting from present or proposed future legislation, you don't have to face the situation alone. A good defense attorney can challenge evidentiary procedures and even video tapes and photos of alleged violations which may have been tampered with or altered in the chain of command. Don't settle; demand justice and protect your rights.

Source: stonline.com, "NYAPT Names Legislator of the Year for Urging of School Bus Stop Arm Law" Ryan Gray, Nov. 14, 2013

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