Dear Pennsylvania NMA Members,
PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION on SB1098 and SB172!
Please call Governor Tom Wolf IMMEDIATELY and ask him to VETO Senate Bill 1098, which is about stop arm cameras. While on the phone, remind his staffer that you also want him to VETO Senate Bill 172, which is about speed cameras, and was in a previous alert. Please tell the staff person who takes your call that the Governor’s decision on this bill will decide how you vote in the November election.
During business hours, call 717-787-2500.
PLEASE PASS THIS INFO ALONG TO ALL PEOPLE YOU KNOW. THEY MUST CALL THOUGH, AS NO OTHER METHOD OF CONTACT IS FAST ENOUGH.
The worst parts of SB 1098 are the ones that remove basic protections guaranteed under the law. This bill applies current law of a criminal violation for illegal school bus passing, but removes your rights. There is a fine, points, and a license suspension, with the vehicle’s owner being mailed a ticket. The problem is that you are required to prove you were not driving, which is NOT how the legal system works. How can someone prove he or she was not driving? Your list of approved defenses is also in the bill, which is not permitted. In criminal proceedings, the government MUST prove who was driving the vehicle, that a violation occurred, and you can bring up any defenses you like. Also, in criminal cases you can confront your accuser, but since the person approving the violation was not there, who would the accuser be? An earlier version of the bill simply referred the matter to police to investigate, but that protection was removed, in order to allow more tickets to be mailed out.
SB 1098, for stop-arm cameras, is a redundant bill. Any school can already use surveillance cameras on school buses to catch illegal passing, so why automate the process? PA law differs from other states with its bus laws, plus many buses do not even look like buses. If a bus is on an intersecting road, you may not even see it.
There is no requirement to allow for a minimum duration of flashing yellow light time, or any mention of addressing cars which are already in motion near the bus, when the flashing reds appear, so they would not be able to stop. No mention of addressing confusing roadway designs or how tickets would be rejected for divided roads, where you need not stop.
School transportation is one of the safest modes of transport we have. There is a stop-arm extender that can block the next lane, which is not required by this bill.
This bill will actually encourage drivers to slam on the brakes at the sight of a school bus, which may lead to rear-end collisions.
According to federal data, when students are hit, it is by the SCHOOL BUS most times, not illegally passing cars.
It is obvious that during the current state legislative session, that the State House, State Senate, and the Governor have been promoting an agenda that goes against best-practice engineering and enforcement of traffic laws. Please take that into account, when you vote next month. Much of this agenda passes unanimously or close to it. NMA members have contacted all of these officials, but they refuse to listen.
Thanks for caring about promoting safe driving and enforcement in Pennsylvania.
Please share this alert with others you know. Tell them to take action and join the NMA!