COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Muscogee County School District (MCSD) and the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office are partnering with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to deploy CrossingGuard to help address illegal school bus passing.
The CrossingGuard school bus arm safety solution mounts cameras and sensors on the side of a school bus. When the stop arm is deployed, the sensors automatically detect a vehicle illegally passing the stop arm in either direction. Video of the violation and the vehicle’s license plate is captured. The video is then reviewed by law enforcement — in this case, the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office — for approval prior to a citation being issued.
In Georgia, the penalties are a $300 fine for a first stop-arm violation, a $750 fine for a second violation, and a $1,000 fine for a third violation in a five-year period.
Officials said cameras have been installed on at least 50 MCSD buses at no cost to the district, and the cameras are maintained by ATS.
The school district will receive 25% of the fines in the first year, 40% of the fines in the second year, and 50% of the fines in years three through five.
"I am one of the first people to respond to the scene when a child has been struck by a driver who broke the law and passed a school bus while children are loading or unloading," MCSD Security Supervisor David Scott Thomann said. "There is no reason to violate the law and risk an injury [to] or actually injure one of our children. Drivers must stop!"
Approximately 210 MCSD bus drivers transport 16,000 students on 850 bus routes to and from school each week.
"Our goal is to educate drivers and stop the illegal passing of school buses," said Frank Brown, MCSD director of transportation. "Our No. 1 priority is to protect the children who ride our school buses to and from school each day. We are proud to have this additional tool to help keep our children safe."
Other news on ATS:
• American Traffic Solutions wins contract with co-op
• Ga. district's stop-arm violation program goes live