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State law now allows for expanded enforcement of red light violations near school buses

According to Lincoln County Sheriff Shane Johnson, “the days of sneaking past a bus with it’s lights flashing and the stop sign out are over.”

This week the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office issued a reminder to drivers to pay attention and be sure to stop for school buses.

According to Sheriff Johnson, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office takes red light violations very seriously.
When a school bus has flashing red lights state law requires vehicles traveling in either direction to stop, he said. The idea behind the law is to keep students safe as they enter and exit school buses.

The Wyoming State Legislature has adopted some new regulations relating to school bus safety and red light violations.

As of July 1, red light violation citations can be given to registered vehicle owners if the vehicle passes a school bus when its red lights are on. The citation can be given out based on video footage of the vehicle’s license plate even if the driver of the vehicle cannot be identified in the video footage.

“All of the school buses are equipped with cameras on the inside as well as the outside,” Sheriff Johnson said. “This law is an effort to hold people responsible that are violating those red light laws for school buses.”

According to Sheriff Johnson, the Sheriff’s Office is working with the school district as far as sharing video footage of red light violations that take place.

“That’s something to be aware of,” said Johnson. “It’s not just when we catch the driver in the driver’s seat when they are violating the red light. We can now cite the registered owner of that vehicle even if we are not sure of who was driving it at the time the violation occurred. That might raise some eyebrows. And understandably so. But that is how serious this is.”

According to Sheriff Johnson, the days of being able to sneak by a school bus when its stop sign is out and its red lights are flashing are over.

“It’s pretty hard to sneak by those buses,” he said. “They will forward us the video and we will follow up with it from there.”

According to Sheriff Johnson, the goal is to “not cite anybody” because everyone has made the choice to comply with the rules of the road and keep children safe.

“We are not looking to cite people,” he said. “What we want to do is get compliance. In an ideal situation there is nobody to cite because everybody is following that rule. That’s what we are looking for. But this (the ability to issue a citation) is one of the tools that has been put in place by the state legislature to be able to combat red light violations because it really is a safety issue.”