The Warren County (Pennsylvania) School District is partnering with BusPatrol, as well as local and state law enforcement, for a safety initiative to reduce the rate that drivers illegally pass stopped school buses and make roads safer for students.
When complete, BusPatrol will equip the district's fleet of 80 school buses with its 360° Student Transportation Safety Platform. The platform includes AI-powered stop-arm cameras and sensors, 4G LTE connectivity, GPS, a silent alarm system, and more. The technology is provided at no cost and is exclusively funded by violators, according to the company.
Warren County School District's transportation manager, Michael Kiehl, stated that his department receives numerous phone calls from bus drivers and concerned citizens about witnessing motorists illegally passing school buses. Those callers often lack the necessary information to help identify the violator. The high-resolution camera systems from BusPatrol will capture the data and provide it to law enforcement to review and confirm that a violation has occurred.
Kiehl stressed: "The safety of our students is the number one priority, and I cringe when I hear about stories like what has happened at neighboring districts." Referring to a 13-year-old child who was struck and killed by a vehicle that failed to stop as a dozen students were boarding at a bus stop in a neighboring district. "We want to take a proactive approach when it comes to student safety and attempt to address the issue before we have a major incident."
The Warren County School District will be the first to install the BusPatrol Student Safety Platform in Western Pennsylvania. The system is expected to be online in February 2022.
Jean Souliere, CEO and founder of BusPatrol, said: "Across the state of Pennsylvania, we are repeatedly hearing reports of drivers ignoring the stop-arm and blowing past the school bus. Dangerous driving around school buses can be fatal, and we owe it to our children to ensure that they get to school and back safely."
Pennsylvania state law requires motorists to stop at least 10 feet away from school buses with red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. Drivers must stop for a school bus approaching in any direction to allow children to enter and exit the bus safely. A violation for a driver captured by the stop-arm camera will result in a $300 fine.