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Oregon House Approves Bill for School Bus Cameras

Credits: Jefferson Public Radio

A bill in Oregon, sparked by a student’s close call with an aggressive driver, is making progress toward becoming law. House Bill 4147, introduced by Rep. Courtney Neron, would allow school districts to install cameras on school buses to catch and ticket drivers who illegally pass buses when they stop to pick up or drop off students.

The bill was prompted by high school student Sean Sype’s experience witnessing a driver speed past a stopped school bus while a peer was exiting. Sype’s testimony emphasized the importance of holding drivers accountable for ignoring the law and endangering students’ lives.

If passed, Oregon would join at least 24 other states, including Idaho and Washington, in allowing cameras on school buses to catch violators.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended this measure after a tragic accident in Indiana in 2018, where a driver struck and killed three children.

Oregon School Bus (Credits: The 74)

Neron highlighted a report from the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, which documented over 1,400 incidents of illegal passing by drivers in Oregon on a single day.

The bill aims to address this issue by enabling districts to partner with law enforcement to issue tickets to violators caught on camera.

While the bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support, some lawmakers expressed concerns about funding. The bill does not provide funding for school districts to install cameras or for law enforcement to review footage and issue tickets.

Rep. Boomer Wright supported the bill but raised the issue of funding, suggesting that if a bill costs money, it should be funded. On the other hand, Rep. Paul Evans voted against the bill, citing concerns about data security related to photo radar programs. Despite this, the bill is moving forward and will now be considered by the Senate.

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