As the school year gets underway, more than 60 Maryland law enforcement agencies and state police barracks are being awarded a total of $515,000 in grants to be used to enforce traffic laws related to school bus safety.

The funding is made possible under state legislation passed in 2000 that created a School Bus Enforcement Fund. Police departments use the funds to place personnel working overtime on special school bus patrols during the academic year.

The most common such violation continues to be motorists who fail to stop when the red lights are flashing on school buses. This can be very dangerous because the lights signal when children are boarding or exiting a bus and might be crossing the street. The minimum fine for school bus violations is $550.

An additional $35,000 of grant funds will be awarded to law enforcement agencies that have the highest number of motorists who are stopped violations. The Department of State Police expects to award these funds in January 2006.

For a full list of agencies awarded funding for school bus safety enforcement, visit www.mdsp.org.

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