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Report: Arizona bill would add photo radar to school buses

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

PHOENIX — An Arizona bill would reportedly add photo radar systems to school buses that only take photos of license plates, meaning owners either tell officials who broke the law or pay the fine.

House Bill 2366 was proposed by Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff. Thorpe told the Arizona Daily Sun he came up with the idea after school officials complained about drivers failing to stop for school buses.

Under Arizona law, drivers must stop when a school bus is displaying its flashing stop sign. Thorpe said people have been ignoring that system.

Thorpe said he hopes the cameras not only deter drivers from breaking the law, but captures violators.

“Unlike speeding tickets or running a red light, you’ve got a flashing school bus dropping off kids,” he said. “You certainly want people to respect that and protect those kids.”

Some school officials have questioned how they would pay for the cameras, but Thorpe said they could work with photo radar companies and come up with a proceed-sharing system that would have the companies install and operate the cameras.

The second part of Thorpe’s bill would only require a photo radar system to snap a picture of a violating vehicle’s license plate.

Current law requires a photo of the driver, but Thorpe feels his system would work better because it would work like a parking ticket: The vehicle’s owner can either tell authorities who was driving their car at the time or the owner would be required to pay.

Thorpe said his bill would prevent insurance companies from raising premiums on those that break the law. HB 2366 also would put a cap on most fines levied at offending drivers.

Thorpe’s bill is already being met with criticism from the Tea Party. Two other bills, SCR 1010 and SB 1241, seek to block photo radar usage.

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