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Oklahoma senate approves bill for school bus safety

Posted at 8:30 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 21:30:31-04

The Oklahoma state senate approved legislation Wednesday to allow school districts to take action to address drivers unlawfully overtaking school buses.

House Bill 1926, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Dell Kerbs, would better protect student riders by allowing districts to install cameras on school buses to record those who illegally pass when the stop sign is flashing, lawmakers say.

“Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. If there isn’t a police officer around, many drivers don’t realize the danger of passing a stopped school bus. A young man was recently struck in Stillwater by a passing driver and over the years, many other kids have been injured around the state and some even killed,” Sharp said in a news release. “There’s a reason it’s illegal to pass a bus – it’s extremely dangerous to students, especially younger ones who might not be as attentive crossing the street.”

Under the bill, those caught driving around stopped buses can be fined $100 or more with 75 percent of the funds going to the Cameras for School Bus Stops Revolving Fund. The State Board of Education will oversee the Fund and provide grants to public school districts for the installation of camera equipment on their buses.

“This bill will allow those school districts that decide to install cameras be able to better protect their students. It will also provide local law enforcement with evidence to be able to hold those who break the law accountable or deter those who might otherwise consider passing a stopped school bus,” Sharp said. “The main thing is that this will hopefully prevent future injuries and fatalities. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for their reconsideration and support of this important measure and urge Governor Stitt to sign it.”

HB 1926 now heads to the Governor’s desk for final consideration.

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