May 15, 2024

House Gives Final Passage to Legislation to Deter Illegal School Bus Passing

The House gave final passage last week to legislation preserving the ability of Connecticut towns and cities to adopt monitoring systems to detect and fine motorists who illegally pass parked school buses.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote late Wednesday, days after Sen. Herron Keyon Gaston, co-chair of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee, led the proposal to an overwhelming vote in the Senate on May 2. The House action sends the bill to the governor for consideration.

The legislation was a top priority for Gaston, D-Bridgeport, who proposed the policy in an effort to address concerns raised by his constituents in Bridgeport. Gaston called the House vote an important step in safeguarding Connecticut students.

“The safety and wellbeing of our children, no matter where they live or what they look like, has been a top priority for me since taking office,” Gaston said. “This legislation marks a crucial advancement in safeguarding our young students, and I am deeply grateful that my efforts working across the aisle and with my House colleagues were recognized with this unanimous vote.”

The bill directly responded to data from the city of Bridgeport, which indicated that nearly 10,000 drivers had been recorded illegally passing stopped school buses in the first six months of this academic year.

Currently, towns and cities have the ability to use technology to fine motorists who illegally pass parked buses under a temporary program, which will sunset on July 1, 2026. The bill allows Connecticut towns and cities the option of continuing to employ cameras to detect motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus and issue offending drivers a fine of $250.

The fines contemplated by the bill are similar to those adopted by the state of New York, where drivers can be fined between $250 and $400 for illegally passing a school bus on a first offense.

Under the bill, municipalities will retain all of the fines collected, which will be used on initiatives to enhance public safety.

Posted by Hugh McQuaid