Already Over 200 ‘Stop Arm’ School Bus Violators Since October in F.C.

April 7, 2014 11:40 PM4 comments
F.C. POLICE CHIEF Mary Gavin told the F.C. Council that over 200 citations from the City's new camera-documented 'stop arm' violations for failure to stop in the presence of a school bus dropping off or taking students have been issued in the last six months. (Photo: News-Press)

F.C. POLICE CHIEF Mary Gavin told the F.C. Council that over 200 citations from the City’s new camera-documented ‘stop arm’ violations for failure to stop in the presence of a school bus dropping off or taking students have been issued in the last six months. (Photo: News-Press)

Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin told the Falls Church City Council tonight that since into effect last Oct. 1, there are already 201 fines charged to motorists in the City for violation of newly camera-documented failure to stop when school buses are stopped and flashing their lights to take or let off students in the City. At $200 a pop, these fines have cost violators in The Little City a whopping $40,200 in just six months.

Chief Gavin said that number doesn’t include 31 citations that were thrown out upon review because of the strict circumstances required to issue a citation, including that a bus must be stopped, flashing its lights and with children involved.

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  • Churchattendee

    I find this story very misleading. How many “violations” were ultimately dismissed? I see that there were 31 that were not in the count, but how many additionally? Also, how many people paid the ticket without knowing the strict rules surrounding the citation and decided NOT to contest the ticket as they didn’t want to go into court on the issue? Violation issuance does not mean someone did something wrong, necessarily. The measurement for success of this program should not be how many tickets have been written. It should be how many tickets held up in court. I hope, too, that the FCCPD went back and reviewed all of the violations they issued that people paid that were not contested prior to a review of their policies and statement of what the strict rules surrounding the rules for violation are. I suspect they have not and people have paid tickets for violations they actually did not commit.

    • This sounds like it comes from someone who got tagged. I travel on Broad St. near Cherry several times a week at school-bus time and it’s a rare day when I don’t see at least one car violating the school-bus rule. Those rules aren’t strict. They say that you should stop when the bus is stopped with the flags up. How could they possibly make the rules less strict? And as for children being involved. What nut would assume that children WEREN’T involved. We’re talking about a school bus, for Pete’s sake.

  • Churchattendee, as a resident of Broad Street with a bus stop outside my front door, I can tell you first hand that there are plenty of legitimate “violations” being committed on a daily basis. Every day, drivers speed past the big yellow bus with flashing lights and a stop arm out, as the bus driver beeps to get their attention and parents on the sidewalk waive franticly to get drivers to slow down. All this while a group of elementary schoolers wait patiently to climb on board. The success of the program has nothing to do with the number of tickets being issued. The tickets are just to get drivers to pay attention. The program will really be successful when we no longer have to issue tickets because kids can safely board the buses without the fear of being mowed down by ignorant drivers who are oblivious to the law and their surroundings.

    • Churchattendee

      Bussstopmom, I couldn’t agree with you more re: what will define the program as successful. I have children of my own who ride the bus and know all too well about the problems faced with people not obeying the law regarding passing school busses.
      That being said, we then need to make sure that the law is being applied correctly. Just because a citation is written does not mean that the driver violated the law. When I looked into this issue, I was told that there is only one camera on the bus – and it is focused at the stop sign arm. There is no way to tell if the yellow-red lights have been engaged or if there are actually children getting on or off of the bus. These are significant issues that I hope the FCCPD have resolved – or they may be giving out citations that are not deserved.
      If the City is going to enforce the law, they better make sure they are enforcing it correctly.
      And as for your comment, Peg Kay, yes, I did get a citation. And it was one of the tickets thrown out. Why, you may ask? Because the red blinking lights never came on and there were NO CHILDREN on the bus. As a matter of fact, the bus was stopped for a red light and decided it was a good time to let off the bus aide, which activated the stop sign arm. I just wonder how many other people were in my predicament but didn’t challenge the ticket.

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