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Senate Approves Traffic Cameras on School Buses

School districts in central Illinois tell us it's a constant problem--drivers who pass stopped school buses.

Today, state lawmakers are taking steps to crack down on drivers who disobey the law.

The plan is to catch the drivers on camera. Lawmakers are giving districts the green light to install cameras on school buses.

It's against the law to not stop for buses picking up or dropping off kids--specifically when the bus' stop sign is out and its lights are flashing.

Under the plan, districts will have the option to use cameras.

Supporters say they'll create a safer environment by deterring drivers from passing buses.

"If you don't want to get picked up for running past a school bus, then stop your car," Sen. Mike Jacobs (D - Moline) said. "It's not that difficult."

Opponents argue it's unconstitutional. They say drivers who get a ticket won't be able to contest it.

"It does not allow for due process," Sen. Dan Duffy (R - Barrington) said. "People in the state of Illinois are not guilty until proven innocent, even though that's what this bill does."

Drivers caught on camera would face a $150 fine for a first offense, and a $500 fine for each additional violation. Any failure to pay or contest could cause a driver to lose his or her license.

Districts would have to post signs to alert drivers on any buses that have cameras. They would also need to let people know on their websites. Drivers would be able to access the images online.

The Senate voted 36-12 to approve the plan. The idea now moves to the House for discussion.