The Clarke County School District has partnered with Athens-Clarke County and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to deploy CrossingGuard®. That's ATS’ new technology to help school districts address the growing problem of the illegal passing of school buses that are stopped and have lights flashing.
Georgia leads the nation in school bus fatalities, with nearly a dozen children killed in the past five years. In response to this alarming trend, last year, the Georgia legislature approved the use of cameras to help enforce school bus stop-arm laws.
“Student safety is our top priority, and we believe this will help drivers join us in ensuring the safety of all of our community’s children,” said Superintendent Philip D. Lanoue.
The CrossingGuard® school bus arm safety solution mounts purpose-built cameras on the side of the school bus. When the stop arm is deployed, the camera automatically detects a vehicle illegally passing the stop arm in either direction and captures video of the violation and still images of a vehicle‘s license plate. Drivers in all lanes must stop – except if they are on the other side of a median. To clarify, there must be a physical barrier such as a grassy area or concrete barricade; otherwise, all lanes of traffic must stop.
The violation video and license plate images are then reviewed by Athens-Clarke County law enforcement for approval prior to a citation being issued. In Georgia, the penalty for a first stop-arm violation will be $300 fine and a $750 fine for the second. A third violation in a five-year period will result in a $1,000 fine.
Unlike some of the other stop arm enforcement products, one benefit of CrossingGuard® is that it is completely automated. So the school bus driver can focus on operating the bus and protecting its passengers. The cameras will be installed on 5 buses and potentially up to 25 in the future.
“We are excited about this collaboration between the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Clarke County School District and American Traffic Solutions,” said Chief of Police Joseph H. Lumpkin Sr. “This new technology will, no doubt, enhance the safety of our highways by protecting all of us – most importantly our most valued resource, our children.”
For more information, read Passing a School Bus With its Stop Arm Out? Think Again