Queen Anne’s County Public Schools and its local law enforcement provider have partnered with BusPatrol to install safety technology, including stop-arm cameras, on all 112 of its school buses.
As part of the partnership, the district’s entire fleet is now equipped with stop-arm cameras, LTE connectivity, telemetry, and GPS, in addition to smart fleet management solutions from Zonar, such as in-cab driver coaching, student rider visibility, and electronic vehicle inspection reporting, according to a news release from BusPatrol.
In July 2019, the Queen Anne's County's board of commissioners unanimously approved the use of school bus video surveillance cameras to capture stop-arm violations and allow law enforcement officials to issue fines, consistent with state law, to offending motorists.
Motorists in the county who illegally pass a stopped school bus with its stop arm extended can expect to receive a fine of $250 in the mail, according to BusPatrol. Revenue collected from each violation will reportedly be used to fund the installation and maintenance of the safety technology, including the stop-arm cameras, as well as awareness campaigns to educate communities on safer driving practices.
“I am hopeful that this program will educate our county residents and that drivers will not illegally pass a school bus with its lights flashing and stop arm extended,” said Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann. “This program is for the safety of our kids getting to and from school and even one illegal passing of a school bus is too much.”
Margaret Ellen Kalmanowicz, supervisor of transportation at Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, added that motorists passing stopped buses has been an ongoing issue for the district, and that the district's bus drivers “are delighted” to have their buses equipped with new safety technology.
“As school buses return to roads after a brief hiatus, it’s important that drivers remember to slow down and stop whenever they see a stopped school bus in Queen Anne’s County,” said Jean Souliere, CEO of BusPatrol. “It could be your child stepping off or onto the bus that day, and every child deserves to get to school safely.”
Currently, more than 7,400 students ride the school bus to and from school every day in Queen Anne’s County, traveling almost 11,000 miles, according to BusPatrol.