Md. Commits Thousands to Protect Children Traveling to School

WHAG NEWS - There are stiff penalties in Maryland for drivers who pass a school bus when it has its "stop arm" displayed to load or unload children. Today if you violate this law it's a fine of $570 and three points on your driving record. 

But this penalty hasn't stopped thousands of drivers who still ignore the stop arm and illegally drive past school buses, according to the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention. 

A survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Education found a total of 3,392 violations of school bus-stop arms were recorded on a single day last spring. They state the numbers have dropped since 2011, when more than 7,000 violations were recorded on a single day. 

However, officials said they want that number to drop even further. The Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention announced Wednesday that 53 agencies from 22 jurisdictions will receive a total of $540,722 to help make the trip to and from school safer for Maryland's children. 

The agencies are receiving these funds through the Maryland School Bus Safety Enforcement Fund. 

Officials said the overall goal of the program is to reduce the number of vehicles violating the school bus law. They said the grants can be used for police overtime to enforce the school bus safety laws or driver education activities, such as broadcast or print public service announcements. Officials said to make the most of the funds available, funded agencies are encouraged to form partnerships with other agencies and community groups. 

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