SUMMERVILLE, Ga. — In an effort to crack down on stop-arm running, Chattooga County School District has added exterior cameras to 15 of its school buses.
Gatekeeper Systems Inc. announced on Monday that it has completed the installation of its Student Protector multi-lane stop-arm video enforcement cameras on the Georgia district’s buses.
Chattooga County School District operates school buses on about 33 routes. The 15 buses that were equipped with exterior cameras cover routes with the highest observed rates of stop-arm violations — collectively measured by local authorities at more than 40 violations per day.
Mike Jarrett, transportation director for the district, said that it’s “only a matter of time” before a child is struck by a stop-arm violator, considering the number of violations that occur on the county’s school bus routes.
In Georgia's statewide stop-arm survey conducted earlier this year with 12,229 school buses, 7,945 illegal passes were counted in one day.
Chattooga County School District held a media day on Sept. 26 to inform the public of the new stop-arm camera program and its role in protecting children as they load and unload school buses. Local media, school district leaders, and law enforcement officials attended the event.
Under a five-year contract, Gatekeeper is responsible for administering the project, managing the process from violation through paid citation. The contract will automatically renew for an additional five-year term unless Chattooga County School District or Gatekeeper provides written notice to not renew the contract.
The Student Protector equipment and TIM (Traffic Infraction Management) software remain the property of Gatekeeper. According to the company, this provides a zero-capital-cost solution for the school district while enabling it to share in stop-arm violation ticket revenue.
The Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office will be responsible for approving or rejecting violations. The revenue generated from citation fees will fund the program. The money will be split by the school district, the county, and Gatekeeper.
In Georgia, stop-arm violation fines cost motorists $300 for a first offense, $750 for a second offense, and $1,000 for subsequent offenses within a five-year period.