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School buses caught on tape

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:37 PM

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BROOKSVILLE -

While drivers for the city and county haven't fallen prey to red light cameras, at least two school bus drivers have been recorded blowing through intersections.

However, school officials say taxpayers wouldn't be footing the bill for the $158 tickets. Instead, bus drivers would be identified and have to pay the fine — while also facing other additional penalties.

Brooksville Police Chief George Turner said his office has been tracking whether government employees have been recorded on red light cameras since they first began being installed within the city in May.

Thus far, he said no city or county employees have been recorded by the red light cameras, although Turner said it's likely to happen at some point.

However, he said there have been two instances where school buses have been recorded driving through intersections when they should have stopped for the red light.

"In these, there was no doubt. They drove right through," Turner said of the buses. "I don't know if they were from the Hernando County School District, but wherever they're from, their district will receive the ticket and then that district will turn in the driver to us."

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said thus far the district has not received any red light camera tickets, although he agreed with Turner that if it does, the driver — not the district — would pay.

"The driver is not only liable for the cost of the ticket but is penalized as a safe driver by the state and (would) get irrevocable points on their license," Blavatt wrote in an email.

He added that he is checking on the matter with staff to determine if the two recorded instances were local drivers for the school district.

Turner said prior to the red light cameras being installed, his officers were notified that if they are recorded driving through a red light, they would also be disciplined internally while also having to pay the $158 fine.

"Or they had better be able to document that they were speeding up to stop a car or respond to reports of something suspicious," Turner said. "Otherwise, they're punished just like everyone else."

Last year, city council members approved to again install red light cameras in Brooksville. When a vehicle is spotted on camera running a red light or making an illegal right on red, the vehicle owner will then be mailed a $158 ticket. Vehicle owners then have the option of paying the ticket or challenging it in traffic court.


jschmucker@hernandotoday.com (352) 544-5271

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