The entire fleet of more than 120 buses in Harrisburg's Central Dauphin School District has been equipped with cameras to catch motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.
The automated enforcement technology supplied by BusPatrol is designed to detect the license plates of vehicles that fail to stop for school buses and put children at risk. Video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review before a citation is issued.
The programs will go live in December, following an education and public awareness campaign. The campaign seeks to educate motorists and learner drivers about school bus safety laws and teach school children how to get on and off the bus as safely as possible. This education will be ongoing once the program is live.
“The district is pleased to partner with BusPatrol to incorporate this safety initiative into our transportation system," said Shannon Leib, director of communications for Central Dauphin School District. "The safety of our students and bus drivers is our number one priority and this partnership is an added measure to achieving that goal.”
In October, Pennsylvania authorities reported more than 250 stop-arm violations in one day during Operation Safe Stop. In 2020, Allentown School District captured more than 200 illegal passings on just two school buses over a 47-day stop-arm study. This is equal to 2.18 violations per bus per day. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends the use of school bus photo enforcement to reduce the rate of illegal passings.
Jean Souliere, CEO and founder of BusPatrol, said that the safety initiative has made roads safer: "Every day, thousands of cars ignore school bus stop-arms and speed past school buses as children are stepping on and off. Sadly, this dangerous motorist behavior is only getting worse. Our safety programs combine education and enforcement to change driver behavior and ensure that all motorists know when to stop for the big yellow bus. In some communities, our programs have reduced the rate of illegal passing by up to 30% YoY."
Central Dauphin School District also will equip its buses with safety features at no cost to the district or taxpayers. The technology, installation, and maintenance are funded by violation revenue over a 5-year term.
As stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses with red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. The penalty for a first-time violation is $300.