Santa Fe, NM – Today, Rep. Raymundo Lara (D-Chamberino) has introduced a “School Bus Stop-Arm Camera Law” to protect New Mexico students and reduce the dangerous and illegal passing of school buses. House Bill 24 strengthens enforcement by adding cameras to school bus stop-arms and tripling the penalty for violations.

Laws in all 50 states prohibit drivers from passing a school bus with red lights flashing and stop-arm extended, however many drivers just ignore the law. Enforcing the law is especially challenging because law enforcement officers must witness the violation, in order to issue a citation.

“In New Mexico, about 166,000 children ride the bus to and from school each day.  I have heard from parents, educators, and bus drivers who are concerned about their students’ safety. Adding cameras to stop-arms is a cost-effective way to reduce the dangerous and illegal passing of school buses.  Our police officers can’t be everywhere all the time and protecting our students is absolutely critical,” said Rep. Ray Lara.

House Bill 24 creates specific guidelines for the use of cameras on stop-arms, establishes warnings to alert drivers of the use of the camera; increases the penalty; and clarifies that fines go to the Common School Fund. At least 16 states have passed school bus stop-arm camera laws, including Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

House Bill 24 has been assigned to the House Transportation and Public Works Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.