Data from the trial program could be used to campaign for legislation to authorize automated...

Data from the trial program could be used to campaign for legislation to authorize automated stop-arm cameras throughout Florida.

Photo courtesy BusPatrol

Santa Rosa County (Fla.) District Schools is working with safety technology company BusPatrol to improve road safety during this back-to-school season. The district has embarked on a pilot program, equipping five of its buses with AI-powered stop-arm cameras to deter drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses.

“We are excited to introduce this technology into the school district to provide a safer environment for our students at the bus stops,” said Travis Fulton, purchasing and contract administration director for Santa Rosa County schools.

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Fulton said the pilot program highlights the need for better enforcement of school bus safety laws in Florida, and results of the trial program will fuel a campaign for legislation to authorize the use of automated stop-arm cameras throughout the state. The school district could use results to make data-driven decisions and share information with law enforcement to target violation hotspots.

“Changing legislation around school bus safety technology in Florida is the first step to improving driver behavior around school buses,” said Jean Souliere, BusPatrol founder and CEO. “The results from this pilot program will be crucial in our campaign for better legislation and better technology to make roads safer for children as they journey to school.”

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The Florida Department of Education reports that in one day, more than 10,000 Florida drivers blow past stopped school buses, putting children at risk. Driver show little sign of correcting this behavior, according to AAA. In a recent survey, that organization found that almost a third (28 percent) of drivers admitted to cutting off a school bus because they thought it was moving too slowly.