If you pass a school bus illegally and figure that no one but the driver and the kids saw it - that could be changing soon. And, it could cost a lot more than it does now.

Photo by Justin Louis

A shore-sponsored measure to equip school buses for video monitoring cleared the Assembly Education Committee this week. It would also triple the fines for first-time violators.

Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe (R-10) sponsor bill A-2150, which would create a five-year pilot program in which school districts and communities could secure vendors to install, operate and maintain the camera systems.

According to McGuckin, the most critical points in the daily cycle of school bus activity are the admission and discharge of students.

"Common sense dictates that when a motorist sees a stopped school bus with its lights flashing and its 'stop' sign out, they should stop and wait until the bus shuts off all its warning signals and begins to pull away before proceeding," McGuckin said in a statement.

Any perceived violations fowarded to, and verified by, local law enforcement officials, would result in a summons.

Drivers found guilty would be fined $300 to $500. Currently, first-time offenders are dunned $100 and up to 15 days in jail or community service time. Fines for subsequent violations max out at $250 and up to 15 days' incarceration.