Topic:
STATISTICAL INFORMATION; CRIME; SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION;
Location:
SCHOOLS - TRANSPORTATION; TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS;

OLR Research Report


November 30, 2004

 

2004-R-0888

VIOLATIONS FOR PASSING A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS

By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Analyst

You asked how many violations of the prohibition on passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights have occurred in the past five years.

According to the Judicial Department, there were 616 cases involving violations of the law prohibiting passing a stopped school bus displaying its flashing lights in FY 2001-02, 683 cases in FY 2002-03, and 727 cases in FY 2003-04. It could not provide statistics for more than the three most recent fiscal years. The procedural outcomes for these violations are shown in Table 1. On average over the three years, approximately 58% of the offenses resulted in a judgment of guilt or the offender paying the fine to the Centralized Infractions Bureau (CIB) rather than contesting the charge, 26.5% of the offenses resulted in the charge being nolled, and the other 15.5% of the offenses resulted in some other disposition (license suspension for failure to appear or forfeiture of bond).

Table 1: Procedural Outcomes for Passing Stopped School Bus Violations

 

Fiscal Year

Total Offenses Disposed

Guilty

Fine Paid to CIB

Nolle

Suspension

Bond Forfeited

2001-02

616

184

167

156

42

67

2002-03

683

185

200

189

31

78

2003-04

727

182

257

191

36

61

By law, except when otherwise directed by a police officer, a motorist approaching a school bus displaying its flashing red signal lights must immediately stop his vehicle at least 10 feet from the front or rear of the bus and remain stopped until the bus no longer displays its red signal lights (CGS 14-279). A motorist who does not stop as required is liable for a fine of $100 to $500 for a first offense, and a $500 to $1,000 fine, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both, for any subsequent offense.

The law provides a mechanism for school bus operators to report violations they observe while driving. Whenever the police receive a written report from any school bus operator specifying the registration number, color, and type of vehicle observed violating the requirements of the stop law, along with the date, approximate time, and location of the violation, a police officer must issue either a written warning or a summons to the vehicle's owner. For certain motor vehicle violations, including this one, proof of the registration number is considered prima facie evidence that the vehicle's owner was the operator (CGS 14-107). (Prima facie evidence establishes a fact unless contradictory evidence is produced.)

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