Grants Will Provide Additional Law Enforcement, Public Education Programs
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the state is providing more than $500,000 to local law enforcement agencies to help them enforce Maryland school bus safety laws. The grants will be used to pay for overtime for police officers who patrol streets when school buses are on the road, and for public education programs to inform the driving public about Maryland’s law requiring drivers to stop when a school bus has stopped to pick up or drop off passengers.
“Maryland children are back to school, and many ride school buses every day to get to class,” said Governor Larry Hogan.”It’s our job—as parents, grandparents, and government leaders—to be sure they are safe on their way to and from school.”
Maryland law requires motorists to stop 20 feet behind or in front of a school bus that has its STOP arm down and lights flashing while loading or discharging students. Drivers who ignore the STOP arm and illegally drive past school buses could be fined and receive points on their driving records.
A one-day survey completed by the Maryland Department of Education last April found that school bus drivers recorded a total of 4,334 times that drivers illegally drove past school buses that had stopped on the road with the STOP arm down and lights flashing.
“You may be late for an appointment, you may be rushing to work, but there’s no excuse to drive past a stopped school bus,” said Glenn Fueston, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, which administered the funding through the School Bus Safety Enforcement Fund. “Drivers must remember that speeding past a stopped school bus risks the lives of innocent children and bystanders.”
Fifty agencies from 22 jurisdictions are receiving a total of $541,400 in state funding for school bus safety initiatives. The grants are listed below:
Following the 2016 legislative session, Governor Hogan signed SB 83, which renamed the School Bus Safety Enforcement Fund to the School Safety Enforcement Fund. The legislation will expand the purposes of the Fund, provide localities with additional flexibility to address school safety needs, and allow county boards of education, in addition to law enforcement entities, to apply for the grants. The changes will take effect October 1, 2016, and will be incorporated into the next notice of funding availability for the program.