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  • Failure to Stop for School Bus Unloading

    Hey, I need some advice; My driving record is (was) perfect, I am 27 and a stay at home mom. I recently received a ticket for Passing a Schoolbus when it was unloading children. I am completely ashamed that I did it, I didn't realize the bus was stopping to unload children until I was already passing it, I feel sick just thinking about it. Well I live in Cobb County Georgia. I was cited for the violation by a police officer and I completely understand why. I am not fighting it, I know I was wrong. I also received a School Bus Camera violation in the mail, requesting $300 for a fine for the same violation. I called and that department asked for a copy of my citation from the police officer and they will dismiss their ticket. That's great.

    I started researching what the fine and penalties will be, seems that since this is one of the worst types of Traffic Violations, the penalties are very weighty. My research found these consequences in my county/state:
    Criminal charges and a mandatory court appearance
    Monetary fines ranging from $300 to $1,000
    Imposition of 6 points on drivers license
    Court-ordered community service
    Compulsory defensive driving classes
    Court-ordered probation
    Increased insurance rates

    Well, my question is regarding the consequences. I will plead no contest, and ask the judge for driving school in lieu of points against my license and hopefully that can be granted. I don't mind paying any fines, but with this being my first time having an offense, I am wondering how likely I could be punished severely? Any chance some of you have seen this type of indiscretion end with just a fine? Will I get punished worse because I was physically stopped by an officer instead of just the camera? Also, would it be wise to ask my husband to stay home from work and take care of our baby so that I can appear in court alone? Or are judges and prosecutors understanding of parents that have to bring their children with them to court?

    I have only lived in Georgia for a year and I'm not familiar with how the courts are out here, but I have really been freaking myself out on how badly I could be paying for this terrible mistake by googling it to death.

    Thanks in advance for any answers you might be able to share.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Questionator View Post
    Hey, I need some advice; My driving record is (was) perfect, I am 27 and a stay at home mom. I recently received a ticket for Passing a Schoolbus when it was unloading children. I am completely ashamed that I did it, I didn't realize the bus was stopping to unload children until I was already passing it, I feel sick just thinking about it. Well I live in Cobb County Georgia. I was cited for the violation by a police officer and I completely understand why. I am not fighting it, I know I was wrong. I also received a School Bus Camera violation in the mail, requesting $300 for a fine for the same violation. I called and that department asked for a copy of my citation from the police officer and they will dismiss their ticket. That's great.

    I started researching what the fine and penalties will be, seems that since this is one of the worst types of Traffic Violations, the penalties are very weighty. My research found these consequences in my county/state:
    Criminal charges and a mandatory court appearance
    Monetary fines ranging from $300 to $1,000
    Imposition of 6 points on drivers license
    Court-ordered community service
    Compulsory defensive driving classes
    Court-ordered probation
    Increased insurance rates

    Well, my question is regarding the consequences. I will plead no contest, and ask the judge for driving school in lieu of points against my license and hopefully that can be granted. I don't mind paying any fines, but with this being my first time having an offense, I am wondering how likely I could be punished severely? Any chance some of you have seen this type of indiscretion end with just a fine? Will I get punished worse because I was physically stopped by an officer instead of just the camera? Also, would it be wise to ask my husband to stay home from work and take care of our baby so that I can appear in court alone? Or are judges and prosecutors understanding of parents that have to bring their children with them to court?

    I have only lived in Georgia for a year and I'm not familiar with how the courts are out here, but I have really been freaking myself out on how badly I could be paying for this terrible mistake by googling it to death.

    Thanks in advance for any answers you might be able to share.
    School buss passing citations are taken very seriously EVERYWHERE.

    It really doesn't matter what the background of the person who commits the violation. What matters is what the judge's use as a "normal sanction" is in the jurisdiction where it was committed.

    As you can see from what you researched--------------the judge has a range of options. Usually, as noted, the outcome is pretty much known in advance by the judge

    In most courts they have "normal sanctions" in place for this type of offense. Judges usually don't deviate from their established practices.

    Originally posted by Questionator View Post
    Also, would it be wise to ask my husband to stay home from work and take care of our baby so that I can appear in court alone? Or are judges and prosecutors understanding of parents that have to bring their children with them to court?
    Children have absolutely no place in the court room
    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • #3
      Had no idea they had cameras in buses now. I do know the red light camera tickets are civil in nature. If the department said they would void their UTC (Uniform Traffic Citation) then you are probably getting a deal. The UTC means points etc. The bus camera ticket, if they are the same as red light tickets, mean no points on the license. If you don't pay the camera ticket they report you to a debt collection agency and may put a mark on your credit. Fail to pay the UTC, they access an additional $100 on top of the original fine, suspend your license etc.

      Just a disclaimer, I've been out of this line of work for 3+ years and just recently started with another dept. Things may have changed in the mean time, so please verify what I've told you. Also confirm they voided the UTC before your court date.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by westsidepopo View Post
        Had no idea they had cameras in buses now. I do know the red light camera tickets are civil in nature. If the department said they would void their UTC (Uniform Traffic Citation) then you are probably getting a deal. The UTC means points etc. The bus camera ticket, if they are the same as red light tickets, mean no points on the license. If you don't pay the camera ticket they report you to a debt collection agency and may put a mark on your credit. Fail to pay the UTC, they access an additional $100 on top of the original fine, suspend your license etc.

        Just a disclaimer, I've been out of this line of work for 3+ years and just recently started with another dept. Things may have changed in the mean time, so please verify what I've told you. Also confirm they voided the UTC before your court date.
        It sounds to me like they are going to dismiss the Camera ticket in favor of the UTC ...........
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
          It sounds to me like they are going to dismiss the Camera ticket in favor of the UTC ...........
          Just re-read it and you are right.

          When she goes to court she can beg for mercy and ask for community service in lieu of the points.

          Comment


          • #6
            I appreciate your mature attitude in taking responsibility for the violation. That is indeed refreshing given the inordinate number of people who approach us seeking to second guess the Officer, and/ or transfer or mitigate blame.

            Past that, I commend you to my colleague's advice (Post#2) relative to your handling the citation.

            Comment


            • #7
              In sum: we do not know what the Judge will do with your case, nor would we be in a position to speculate one way or another. Even a lawyer would be silly to say for sure what the end state will be until the gavel drops.

              As already noted it seems as though you will only “suffer” the consequence of one of the violation notices for the single infraction. This is not the first time I have seem this- several years back a co-worker was working radar and ticketed a driver for speeding and as it turns out the driver was also tagged on a fixed speed camera. The simple rubric of only 1 ticket per violation at the same time applied then and appears to apply here.

              As for bringing your child to court- I would strongly advise against it. Beyond the fact that you will need to devote 100% attention to the Judge/Magistrate during the appearance, you don’t want to risk running afoul of said official if baby cries out, needs a feeding, change or the like.

              I have seen stuff in the various trade journals about school bus cameras and have also been privy to discussion as to admissibility/enforcement via activation of the STOP signs in said busses. From my understanding this is becoming more common and will fly in court.
              Originally posted by SSD
              It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603
              And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sgt jon View Post
                I have seen stuff in the various trade journals about school bus cameras and have also been privy to discussion as to admissibility/enforcement via activation of the STOP signs in said busses. From my understanding this is becoming more common and will fly in court.
                Several jurisdictions in Iowa have these camera's in use. The bus driver signs a complaint (they can do this without a camera also) which is turned into Law Enforcement along with a DVD of the camera catching them passing as evidence. A peace officer then writes a criminal citation after viewing the evidence.

                They hold up quite nicely in cout
                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Never ceases to amaze me how many people fail to understand the law in that traffic stops in BOTH DIRECTIONS when the stop sign is out and the red lights are flashing. Safety of the children trumps anything else going on with the traffic.
                  Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the responses, I looked my ticket up online on the court website and I will be expected to pay $447 for the ticket, and I will be sure to not bring my children with me, I will have my husband spend the day with them. I am still nervous about the court date, I do understand I broke the law and I will just have to graciously accept what ever penalty I face for this infraction. In a weird way I actually respect my county more for putting cameras on buses and hefty fines for breaking this law, as I want to protect children as much as possible in this world. Thanks again for any insight you offered.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Questionator View Post
                      I didn't realize the bus was stopping to unload children until I was already passing it,
                      I have a legitimate question right here that I'd really like to know the answer too so that I am not making assumptions.

                      Exactly WHAT were you doing at this particular moment that caused you to not register the purpose of the flashing red lights and the big "STOP" sign sticking out of the side of the huge yellow bus?

                      were you texting? Placing a call? Mentally preparing a grocery list? Singing along with the radio and trying to remember the words?

                      I am not judging, or implying additional fault or blame - I think you understand you screwed up big time. I want to know for safety sake. For a long time in the 70's to 80's - this was a huge problem. Then, it got better. I am seeing an upwards trend in this again, and I want to understand why. I know in about 70% of the cases I have looked at in the last 24 months, texting was the issue. More specifically -- POSTING TO FACEBOOK because whatever that person was doing at that point was so important that it had to be shared with the world RIGHT THEN. But that was in my state, I want to see and understand what is going on elsewhere. If you don't want to post it here, feel free to send me a PM.

                      Distracted driving is killing people. period.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some of the biggest violators of school zone speed infractions I've seen come soccer moms in their mini vans. I can't tell you how many times I've been passed in my pov. And if they were on the phone they'd at least have an excuse but they aren't so I'm not sure what they're thinking. If I worked day shift I'd be out at a school zone every day with a radar gun pulling people over.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shush View Post
                          I have a legitimate question right here that I'd really like to know the answer too so that I am not making assumptions.

                          Exactly WHAT were you doing at this particular moment that caused you to not register the purpose of the flashing red lights and the big "STOP" sign sticking out of the side of the huge yellow bus?

                          were you texting? Placing a call? Mentally preparing a grocery list? Singing along with the radio and trying to remember the words?

                          I am not judging, or implying additional fault or blame - I think you understand you screwed up big time. I want to know for safety sake. For a long time in the 70's to 80's - this was a huge problem. Then, it got better. I am seeing an upwards trend in this again, and I want to understand why. I know in about 70% of the cases I have looked at in the last 24 months, texting was the issue. More specifically -- POSTING TO FACEBOOK because whatever that person was doing at that point was so important that it had to be shared with the world RIGHT THEN. But that was in my state, I want to see and understand what is going on elsewhere. If you don't want to post it here, feel free to send me a PM.

                          Distracted driving is killing people. period.
                          I'd be glad to explain. It was my birthday and my kids and I were driving to this furniture store to check out what pieces I would be getting from my husband as my gift. I was having a conversation with my 8-year-old and I saw the police vehicle parked in the median facing oncoming traffic, didn't think twice about it since I'd like to think I drive safely. Well, I was in a congested area and I was approaching a busy intersection and red light. When I saw the Big Yellow Bus, and it was slowing, I however did not notice any blinking lights, I honestly didn't realize the Stop sign arm was flexing out until I has well on my way to passing it. I wasn't in a hurry, I wasn't texting, I wasn't "facebooking", it was an honest mistake that I wish I hadn't done. I have thought about it repeatedly since it happened and my best conclusion is that I thought the bus was stopping for the upcoming red light. Since it was caught on the camera I also viewed it online and I actually followed another car that passed the bus illegally also, so for some reason it seems we both missed that the bus was at a stop to unload children.

                          I'm so glad no one was hurt. Again, I realize the severity of the offense, and I would have never knowingly passed a school bus just because I thought I was somehow above the law.

                          I can't answer for all the "soccer moms" in their "minivans" but I can tell you that no matter how great of a person or driver I thought I was, this type of situation makes me want to ensure I am doing better.

                          Hope that gives you some sort of insight.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks, it does. I wasn't meaning to sound like I was beating you up either, it sounds like you are doing plenty of that yourself. Thankfully, no one was hurt. That's really the most important thing. And thank you for owning your mistake. So many times people post on here and try to find ways out of a situation that they caused because they feel they weren't really responsible. It sucks for you, but its refreshing (at least for me) to see someone just asking a question about "what happens next" while simultaneously owning the mistake.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Shush View Post
                              Thanks, it does. I wasn't meaning to sound like I was beating you up either, it sounds like you are doing plenty of that yourself. Thankfully, no one was hurt. That's really the most important thing. And thank you for owning your mistake. So many times people post on here and try to find ways out of a situation that they caused because they feel they weren't really responsible. It sucks for you, but its refreshing (at least for me) to see someone just asking a question about "what happens next" while simultaneously owning the mistake.
                              I didn't feel beat up by your question, I just wanted to give a full picture. I am sure you see people on here and in your line of work always playing to be a victim so I understand. I respect law enforcement, thanks for your response.

                              Comment

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