School Bus Stop Arm Safety Program
Chesapeake Public Schools, the Chesapeake Police Department, and BusPatrol America, LLC., the third-party vendor the City contracts with, are committed to the safety of students and staff on school buses city-wide. This program, which began in 2019, places cameras on the entire fleet of school buses – nearly 600 – to combat inattentive, reckless, and dangerous driving that puts the lives of students, staff, and other motorists at risk. These cameras allow law enforcement to expand their enforcement efforts to promote increased highway safety and educate violators on the law.
Below are general knowledge questions and specific questions you may have if you received a violation in the mail. Please read below and if your question is not answered, email Sergeant Kenneth Byrd, Program Manager, with additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org – Please include your name, citation number (CH-xxxxxxx), phone number, and other pertinent information.
What is the law?
Virginia Code 46.2-844 and City of Chesapeake Ordinance 74-196 govern the program. Note that no one has the authority to wave you by a stopped bus other than a law enforcement officer or school crossing guard. This includes the bus drivers themselves, who cannot authorize you to pass.
When do I have to stop?
1. Motorists who are travelling in the same direction as the bus should always stop.
2. Motorists who are travelling in the opposite direction when there is not a positive median (curb, guard rail, etc.) should always stop.
3. Motorists who are traveling in the opposite direction when there is a positive barrier do not need to stop.
4. When in doubt, stopping is safer!
- How do I know the bus is going to stop?
Much like an intersection with a stop light, school buses have yellow (amber) flashing lights on the top of the bus. These lights will activate to warn motorists the bus is preparing to stop to pick up or drop off passengers. When the yellow lights are flashing, you should be prepared to stop. Virginia Code 46.2-1090 governs the use of lights on school buses.
- Where are bus stops?
A bus stop can be anywhere as deemed necessary by the experts at School Transportation. This can include day cares, hotels/motels, stores, parking lots, intersections, and, most commonly, amongst neighborhoods.
- What times do buses run?
A school bus may operate at any time, even on a non-school day, and motorists are required to stop. Generally, buses run Monday-Friday, from about 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., depending upon age of students, after school activities, and other factors. This does not mean you cannot receive a violation that does not occur within this time range.
- Where are the schools in the City of Chesapeake?
A full listing of schools can be found on the Chesapeake Public Schools website.
- Do private school buses have cameras?
While not contracted with the City of Chesapeake Public Schools, private school buses may have cameras and you could receive a violation for passing them, as all buses fall under the 46.2-844 and 74-196 laws.
- How are citations reviewed?
Citations are reviewed within 10 days of the violation and mailed to your registered address. If mail is returned to the Police Department as undelivered, we will note that in your file. On the 31st day after mailing, you will have a second notice mailed to your house. Your court date will be listed after this 31st day, and before the 61st day. If you have not addressed the citation prior to the 61st day, a late fee will be assessed.
- If you have received a notice of violation/summons in the mail, please see the below commonly asked questions/concerns:
Please see the Questions and Answers below
- Is this a real citation?
Yes, this program is under the control of the Chesapeake Public Schools, Police Department, and the vendor, BusPatrol America, LLC. Mailings may be received from Lorton, VA or Newington, VA, the Headquarters of BusPatrol America, LLC. When in doubt, please contact Sgt. Byrd at email@example.com to confirm.
- How do I view my violation videos on the internet?
Visit this School Bus Safety Program website and enter your CH-xxxxxxx citation number, license plate and complete the captcha requirements if required to view the same videos and photos that the reviewing officer saw. Enter the data exactly as it shows on the violation notice. (i.e. if your license plate is ABC-1234, it may need to be entered as ABC1234 or ABC-1234)
- What is the fine?
The fine is a civil penalty of $250. If you appeal (see more below on appeals) and are found liable, you may be required to provide payment of court costs and incur DMV demerit points for a moving violation. Based on the present Virginia Law, the judge cannot reduce the $250 fine based upon a driving school or a favorable driving record.