In 2023, Pennsylvania passed a law that would allow for school buses to include automated cameras to catch drivers passing stopped school buses in the act.

Now, PennDOT has published some updated program guidelines including further instructions for vendors on the hearing process, and other key reminders related to the program.

The law allows for school districts to install and operate automated camera systems for the purpose of enforcing Pennsylvania's school bus stopping law and increasing safety for schoolchildren across the commonwealth.

Drivers caught violating the law will be issued a violation and must pay a $300 fine. These are civil penalties only and no points will be added to a violator's driver's license.

Previously, owners could contest a violation by requesting a hearing with the magisterial district where the violation occurred and paying the applicable civil filing fees.

Starting this week, drivers are now able to request a hearing before a PennDOT hearing officer at no cost to them.

The updated law also includes additional transparency in the form of a mandatory annual report. This means schools who have these cameras must submit information to PennDOT and PSP annually by July 1.

These reports must include the following:

- The name of the system administrator

- The number of school buses equipped with stop sign cameras

- Numbers of violations issued

- Amounts paid under agreements authorized under the law

- Results of any contested violations

- Use of additional revenue funds and any grants awarded to the program

According to data from Operation Safe Stop 2023, participating districts and law enforcement agencies reported witnessing 176 violations in just one day.

Operation Safe Stop is held annually in October with the goal of enhancing school bus safety across PA.

$250 worth of fines are paid to the school district where the violation occurred, $25 is paid to the police department that reviewed the violation and the remaining $25 is paid to PennDOT for the School Bus Safety Grant Program.