Browne and Schlossberg applaud final passage of school bus safety legislation

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – Legislation drafted by state Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, aimed at curtailing vehicles illegally passing school buses in Pennsylvania, is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

Both legislators introduced identical companion bills.  Senate Bill 1098, authored by Browne, was approved by both the Senate and the House and sent to the Governor for enactment into law.

“There have been many instances where the safety of our children has been endangered as they travel to and from school by drivers not following laws currently in place,” Browne said. “This legislation provides police with an additional tool to allow them to identify and reprimand those who fail to follow the law and stop for school buses when the red lights are flashing and the arm bar is out.”

The adopted legislation is designed to place stop-arm cameras on school buses to catch drivers illegally passing school buses. The bill also establishes a grant program, funded by a portion of fines collected from violations, to help defray the cost for school districts to install stop-arm cameras.

“Every day, thousands of Pennsylvania students take the bus to school,” Schlossberg said.  “Our children’s arrival to and from home is on the mind of parents, bus drivers and teachers so we must keep them as safe as possible during their daily journey.”

The Lehigh County state legislators said that stop-arm cameras would allow police to use technology similar to red light cameras to capture violations and issue traffic citations. The approved bill will not mandate that cameras be installed, but will allow for them to be used.

Browne and Schlossberg said that the law was inspired by Amber Clark, a constituent who saw people illegally passing school buses in Allentown, and brought the matter to their attention

“This is how democracy is supposed to work.  A citizen sees a problem, brings it to the attention of elected officials and those elected officials work together to find a solution to address the problem,” Schlossberg said.  “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Amber and Senator Browne to get this done!” 

Governor Tom Wolf has indicated that he will sign the legislation into law.