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H.B. 456

             1     

TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS AROUND SCHOOL BUSES

             2     
2012 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Brad R. Wilson

             5     
Senate Sponsor: Jerry W. Stevenson

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Traffic Code by amending provisions relating to traffic violations
             10      around school buses.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    provides that the operator of a vehicle on a highway, upon meeting or overtaking a
             14      school bus equipped with signals, shall stop immediately and not closer than 50 feet
             15      before reaching the bus when the bus has come to a complete stop and may not
             16      proceed until:
             17              .    the bus has completed loading or unloading school children; and
             18              .    the flashing red light signals cease operation;
             19          .    provides that the operator of a vehicle, upon meeting or overtaking a school bus
             20      which is displaying alternating flashing red light signals visible from the front or
             21      rear, shall stop not closer than 50 feet before reaching the bus;
             22          .    repeals the requirement that a school district transportation coordinator send a
             23      notification letter to the last-known registered owner of the vehicle if the
             24      coordinator receives a report that a school bus operator witnessed a violation of
             25      certain passing school bus provisions;
             26          .    requires the school district transportation coordinator to file a school bus passing
             27      violation report with the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction for the


             28      alleged violation; and
             29          .    makes technical changes.
             30      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             31          None
             32      Other Special Clauses:
             33          None
             34      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             35      AMENDS:
             36          41-6a-1302, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2005, Chapter 2
             37          41-6a-1303, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2005, Chapter 2
             38     
             39      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             40          Section 1. Section 41-6a-1302 is amended to read:
             41           41-6a-1302. School bus -- Signs and light signals -- Flashing amber lights --
             42      Flashing red lights -- Passing school bus -- Duty to stop -- Travel in opposite direction --
             43      Penalties.
             44          (1) A school bus, when operated for the transportation of school children, shall:
             45          (a) bear on the front and rear of the bus a plainly visible sign containing the words
             46      "school bus" in letters not less than eight inches in height, which shall be removed or covered
             47      when the vehicle is not in use for the transportation of school children; and
             48          (b) be equipped with alternating flashing amber and red light signals visible from the
             49      front and rear, of a type approved and mounted as required under Section 41-6a-1301 and
             50      prescribed by the department under Section 41-6a-1601 .
             51          (2) The operator of a vehicle on a highway, upon meeting or overtaking a school bus
             52      equipped with signals required under this section [which is displaying alternating flashing]:
             53          (a) shall stop immediately and not closer than 50 feet before reaching the bus when the
             54      bus has come to a complete stop and may not proceed until:
             55          (i) the bus has completed loading or unloading school children; and
             56          (ii) the flashing red light signals cease operation;
             57          [(a)] (b) which is displaying alternating flashing amber warning light signals, shall
             58      slow the vehicle, but may proceed past the school bus using due care and caution at a speed not


             59      greater than specified in Subsection 41-6a-601 (2) for school zones for the safety of the school
             60      children that may be in the vicinity; or
             61          [(b)] (c) which is displaying alternating flashing red light signals visible from the front
             62      or rear, shall stop immediately and not closer than 50 feet before reaching the bus and may not
             63      proceed until the flashing red light signals cease operation.
             64          (3) The operator of a vehicle need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus
             65      displaying alternating flashing red light signals if the school bus is traveling in the opposite
             66      direction when:
             67          (a) traveling on a divided highway;
             68          (b) the bus is stopped at an intersection or other place controlled by a traffic-control
             69      signal or by a peace officer; or
             70          (c) on a highway of five or more lanes, which may include a left-turn lane or two-way
             71      left turn lane.
             72          (4) (a) The operator of a school bus shall operate alternating flashing red light signals
             73      at all times when:
             74          (i) children are unloading from a school bus to cross a highway;
             75          (ii) a school bus is stopped for the purpose of loading children who must cross a
             76      highway to board the bus; or
             77          (iii) it would be hazardous for vehicles to proceed past the stopped school bus.
             78          (b) The alternating flashing red light signals may not be operated except:
             79          (i) when the school bus is stopped for loading or unloading school children; or
             80          (ii) for an emergency purpose.
             81          (5) The operator of a school bus being operated on a highway shall have the headlights
             82      of the school bus lighted.
             83          (6) (a) A violation of Subsection (2) or (3) is a class C misdemeanor and the minimum
             84      fine is:
             85          (i) $100 for a first offense;
             86          (ii) $200 for a second offense within three years of a previous conviction or bail
             87      forfeiture; and
             88          (iii) $500 for a third or subsequent offense within three years of a previous conviction
             89      or bail forfeiture.


             90          (b) A violation of Subsection (5) is a class C misdemeanor and the fine is $50.
             91          (c) The court may order the person to perform compensatory service in lieu of the fine
             92      or any portion of the fine if the court makes the reasons for the waiver part of the record.
             93          (7) The Driver License Division shall develop and implement a record system to
             94      distinguish:
             95          (a) a conviction or bail forfeiture under this section from other convictions; and
             96          (b) between a first and subsequent conviction or bail forfeiture under this section.
             97          Section 2. Section 41-6a-1303 is amended to read:
             98           41-6a-1303. Passing a school bus complaint procedure.
             99          (1) (a) An operator of a school bus who observes a violation of Subsection
             100      41-6a-1302 (2) or (3) may prepare a report, in a manner specified by the school district, to the
             101      school district transportation coordinator no more than two working days after the alleged
             102      violation occurred.
             103          (b) The report under Subsection (1)(a) shall contain:
             104          (i) the date, time, and location of the violation;
             105          (ii) the license plate number and state and description of the offending vehicle;
             106          (iii) as much as practical, a description of the operator of the offending vehicle;
             107          (iv) a description of the incident involving the violation;
             108          (v) information on how to contact the school bus operator who witnessed the offense;
             109      and
             110          (vi) the signature of the operator of the school bus who witnessed the offense attesting
             111      to the accuracy of the report.
             112          (2) [(a)] Upon receipt of a report in accordance with Subsection (1), the [school district
             113      transportation coordinator shall promptly send a notification letter to the last-known registered
             114      owner of the vehicle. (b) The notification letter shall include: (i) the applicable information on
             115      the school bus operator's report stating that the vehicle was observed passing a school bus
             116      displaying alternating flashing red lights in violation of state law; (ii) a complete explanation
             117      of the applicable provisions of Section 41-6a-1302 ; and (iii) an explanation that the
             118      notification letter is not a peace officer citation but is an effort to call attention to the
             119      seriousness of the incident. (c) The] school district transportation coordinator [may] shall file
             120      the report with the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction for the alleged violation.


             121          (3) A law enforcement agency that receives a report in accordance with Subsection (2)
             122      may have a peace officer initiate an investigation of the reported violation.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-15-12 4:08 PM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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