Stop Arm FAQs
The owner of a motor vehicle that is operated in violation of Section 545.066 of the Texas Transportation Code was found in violation of passing a stopped, camera-enforced school bus displaying the visual signals required by Section 547.701(c) of the Texas Transportation Code.
Failure to pay the civil fine, or to timely request an Administrative Adjudication Hearing, is considered an admission of liability for the school bus stop arm violation and is a waiver of your right to appeal the imposition of the civil fine which will result in the assessment of appropriate civil fines, penalties, and costs. A late payment penalty will incur if you fail to pay the civil fine or request an Administrative Review within 30 days of the issue date of your Notice of Violation.
An arrest warrant may not be issued for failure to timely pay the civil fines, penalties, and costs and that the imposition of the civil penalty may not be recorded on the vehicle owner’s driving record.
Why has Santa Fe ISD implemented a school bus safety camera program?
Today, parents have enough reasons to worry about their children’s safety—sending them to school should not be one of them. It is illegal and also dangerous for a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus. The goal of the program is to improve safety for students who ride school buses. We are committed to reducing violations, collisions, and injuries to keep our community safe. Yearly reports indicated that Santa Fe ISD buses were passed illegally at much higher rates than the state and national averages.
Does this really make the area around the bus safer for students?
Santa Fe ISD has seen a dramatic reduction in violations and citations over the 3 school years this program has been in place. 2019-2020 there was an average of 169 citations per month. 2020-2021 there was an average of 121 citations per month. 2021-2022 there was average of 62 citations per month. In the 3-year history of the program that is a 63% reduction in citations.
What is a school bus stop arm violation?
A school bus violation occurs when a motorist passes a school bus after the school bus has come to a complete stop with its stop-arm extended and lights flashing.
Why is this type of enforcement needed?
Violations are automatically detected, allowing the bus driver to focus on driving. Photo-enforcement systems serve allow for continuous law enforcement while police officials focus on other high-priority needs. When a school bus stops and alternating red flashing lights are active, drivers must stop.
How does the school bus arm camera work?
Step 1: Cameras are installed at a key location on the exterior of each school bus.
Step 2: When a school bus extends its stop-arm, the system can automatically detect if a vehicle passes the stopped school bus within the enforced zone.
Step 3: If a vehicle passes the school bus, the cameras capture images and video of the violating vehicle.
Step 4: The images show not only the violating vehicle as it passes the school bus, but also the vehicle’s license plate and the school bus’s extended stop arm. The system also records a video of the violating vehicle as further evidence of the violation.
Step 5: Violation data and images are then wirelessly uploaded for validation, processing and notice issuance.
Step 6: A final review of the image and video is conducted by Santa Fe ISD’s law enforcement personnel, who then will approve or reject the violation.
How are bus routes selected?
Santa Fe ISD officials worked with bus drivers and Santa Fe ISD Police Department to determine the frequency of illegal stop-arm passing. In many cases, district officials have been made aware of dangerous driving habits that affect the safety of our children as they enter and exit school buses.
Why did I receive a Notice of Violation?
The registered owner of this motor vehicle was photographed passing a stopped school bus, in violation of City of Santa Fe Ordinance No. 02-2019 of April 11, 2019. The owner of a motor vehicle that is operated in violation of Section 545.066 of the Texas Transportation Code, as amended, by passing a stopped camera enforced school bus displaying the visual signals required by Section 547.701(c) of the Texas Transportation Code, as amended, commits a civil offense and is liable for a civil fine under this regulation (https://library.municode.com/tx/santa_fe/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CH9TRCO) refer to Chapter 9 Section 5.
On April 18, 2022 the City of Hitchcock passed Ordinance No. 2022-005 Allowing Santa Fe ISD to enforce stop arm violations via camera within the portion of Santa Fe ISD that is in Hitchcock City Limits.
Will this be reported to my insurance or go against my driving record?
No, this is a civil penalty. Failure to pay the civil fine, or to timely request an Administrative Adjudication Hearing, is considered an admission of liability for the school bus stop arm violation and is a waiver of your right to appeal the imposition of the civil fine which will result in the assessment of appropriate civil fines, penalties, and costs.
How much is the fine?
The violation will result in a $300 civil fine. Failure to pay may result in additional fines, penalties, and costs, and may be sent to collections.
Where does the money go from citations?
Verra Mobility supplies and maintains all of the equipment, performs initial evaluation of violations, pays for the air-time to transmit data, contracts with the company creating the evidence package. They are a for-profit company and their portion of fines collected is 60%. Santa Fe ISD provides final police officer review and approval, pays the independent hearing officer’s fees, and facilitates monthly appeals hearings. Santa Fe ISD receives 40% of fines collected and the money is placed in a security and safety fund.
Can I review the actual violation?
Yes. The violation video and other evidence may be viewed by entering the URL link provided on the citation. The link will have the address of the violation as well as the GPS coordinates, vehicle registration information. Additionally, in the bottom right-hand corner of your images accessed online you will find two key pieces of information, AL TIME and RL TIME. AL TIME is the number of seconds the amber (yellow) lights were on prior to opening the door (16 seconds in the violation below). RL TIME is the number of seconds the door has been open with red lights activated to allow students off or on (2 seconds in the violation below). This information is also present in the images shown on the citation you received in the mail.
What do I do if I have received a notice?
Please visit https://www.violationinfo.com and log on with the information provided on the notice, or call 1-866-790-4111. There are also detailed instructions on the back of the notice.
How do I pay my Notice of Violation?
The time period to pay is shown on the front of your notice in the top right corner. There may be a convenience/service fee charged by the banking institution for online and phone payments.
ONLINE: Click the PAY button on the main page.
PHONE: Call 1-866-790-4111, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Make your check or money order payable to Santa Fe Independent School District.
DO NOT MAIL CASH.
Do not tape, staple or paper clip your items.
Write the Notice # on the front of your payment.
Insert the tear-off coupon in the enclosed envelope with the address (at the right) showing through the window.
Payment is an admission of liability.
MONEYGRAM: Pay at the nearest CVS Pharmacy or Walmart, or to find a MoneyGram location nearest to you, call 1-800-926-9400 or visit www.moneygram.com/locations. Use receive code 18803. There is a $4.99 convenience fee (fee subject to change).
How do I contest a violation?
If you wish to dispute your Notice of Violation, fill out the reverse side of your Notice of Violation and mail it, along with your supporting evidence, to Violation Processing Center, P.O. Box 22091 Tempe, AZ 85285-22091 so that it is received on or before the due date on the front side your Notice of Violation. You may also fax this information to (480) 990-4819 so that it is received on or before the due date on the front side your Notice of Violation. FAILURE TO TIMELY SUBMIT THIS INFORMATION IS A WAIVER OF YOUR RIGHT TO CONTEST YOUR VIOLATION.
Your violation has been reviewed by the Santa Fe ISD Police Department prior to approval. You may appeal your citation by requesting a contested hearing before an independent hearing officer. This hearing can be in-person or you can have the hearing officer review the violation and citation and respond to you by mail.
Does Santa Fe ISD have a video hearing option?
No. Citations may be contested by either in-person hearing or appeal by mail. Both types of hearings are handled by the same hearing officer.
DEFINITION OF A SCHOOL BUS ARM VIOLATION
Section 545.066 of the Texas Transportation Code defines the offense of Passing a School Bus as: An operator on a highway, when approaching from either direction a school bus stopped on the highway to receive or discharge a student shall stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual signal as required by Section 547.701; and may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer actuated. An operator on a highway having separate roadways is not required to stop for a school bus that is on a different roadway; or if on a controlled-access highway, for a school bus that is stopped in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway; and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.
A highway is considered to have separate roadways only if the highway has roadways separated by an intervening space on which operation of vehicles is not permitted, a physical barrier, or a clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic; and a highway is not considered to have separate roadways if the highway has roadways separated only by a left turn lane. Section 541.302(5) of the Texas Transportation Code defines "highway or street" as the width between the boundary lines of a publicly maintained way any part of which is open to the public for vehicular traffic. The below images define what is, and is not, an offense. The vehicles in green are NOT required by law to stop, however the vehicles in red are required to stop.
Two Lane Roadway
When a school bus stops for passengers,
ALL traffic from both directions must stop.
Four Lane Roadway, without a median separation
When a school bus stops for passengers, ALL traffic from both directions must stop.
Divided highway of four lanes or more, with a median separation
When a school bus stops for passengers, only traffic going the SAME direction as the bus must stop.
Roadway with two lanes, four lanes or more, with a center turning lane
When a school bus stops for passengers, ALL traffic from both directions must stop.
If you received a citation and have questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-866-790-4111, Monday – Friday between the hours of 7:00 am – 7:00 pm