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Children entering school bus

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WASHINGTON — School bus cameras routinely catch drivers passing illegally. In Arlington County, Virginia, a law needs to be changed before officers can fine motorists.

Though automated stop-arm cameras document the violations, Virginia state law says citations must be handed to drivers, not mailed.

That means, for the moment, aggressive motorists get away without punishment.

“Being able to enforce the fine is as important as having the cameras,” said Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, who has introduced a bill to close the loophole in the law.

 “I’m rather surprised, frankly, at the number of people who will drive around a school bus when it is obviously loading or unloading children.”

Kory expects her bill to get prompt consideration in the 2016 General Assembly. Typically, changes to the law — when approved by the General Assembly — don’t take effect until at least midyear.

Kory is asking the legislature to promptly pass her bill and make it law. That way, citations can go out in the mail during this school year.

“The civil penalty is $250 and that will go directly to a school system,” Kory said.