Gwinnett County Public Schools and Marietta City Schools are the latest to outfit some of their yellow buses with cameras to monitor and detect drivers illegally passing school buses while they are stopped to load and unload students.
Gwinnett County PS, the state’s largest school district, located in the Atlanta metro area, partnered with Canadian-based Reflex Student Guardian for the automated stop-arm enforcement program. Cameras will be installed on 100 GCPS school buses by Labor Day, and district officials expect to outfit up to 40 percent of its school bus fleet later in the school year.
With 1,900 school buses, GCPS is the second-largest school district student transporter in the country, after New York City, transporting more than 126,000 students twice a day.
Meanwhile, Marietta City Schools, located about 35 miles west of GCPS, is using stop-arm cameras from Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions to equip 10 additional school buses.
“We expect to have these installed within the next 30 days,” said district spokesman Thomas Algarin. After this installation, the district will have 12 buses with stop-arm cameras. Marietta City Schools has more than 8,400 students, and about 5,550 students ride the bus.
MCS eventually plans to have one-third of it bus fleet equipped with the cameras to help reduce the number of stop-arm violations across the district, said Mark Lindstrom, director of transportation.
Gwinnett County PS has an agreement with Redflex to operate Student Guardian without any upfront costs to the district, city or state. The program is fully funded by violations. Thomas O’Connor, president of Redflex Student Guardian, said the Student Guardian program is already operating in five Georgia school districts.
In Marietta, the city is contracted with ATS to provide traffic signal monitoring.
In 2011, Georgia passed legislation to permit counties to equip school buses with video cameras to catch drivers who illegally drive by school buses when they stop to pick up or drop off students. The penalty for a first stop-arm violation is $300, $750 for a second violation and $1,000 for a third violation within a five-year period.