Georgia County Approves Stop-arm Camera Program

Thomas McMahon
Posted on March 17, 2016
The school district, government and police department in Fulton County, Georgia, are partnering on a school bus stop-arm enforcement initiative.
The school district, government and police department in Fulton County, Georgia, are partnering on a school bus stop-arm enforcement initiative.

ATLANTA — Fulton County is launching a stop-arm camera program aimed at cracking down on illegal passing of school buses.

County commissioners recently voted to enter into an inter-governmental agreement with Fulton County Schools for the safety initiative. The partnership also involves the Fulton County Police Department, which will implement a school bus camera enforcement program in unincorporated south Fulton County.

Police will administer traffic enforcement and violation assessment to motorists caught on camera passing Fulton County Schools buses with extended stop arms. The county government will provide resources to prosecute those violators.

In a statewide survey conducted last year with 12,063 school buses, 8,790 illegal passes were counted in one day.

"It's scary to hear how many people go around stopped school buses," County Commission Chairman John Eaves said. "Our children really are at risk. Anything we can do to keep them safe, I'm all for."

The plan calls for a qualified officer or other qualified staff member to review the recorded images of violations within three days. The county government will send monthly progress reports to the school district detailing the number of violations.

"This traffic violation is one of the most serious of all violations; it has the potential of injuring our children,” Fulton County Police Chief Gary Stiles said. “Preserving life is the cornerstone of our mission; ensuring the safety of children, the future of our communities, is paramount.”

Stiles added that he will launch an educational ad campaign in the near future.

In Georgia, stop-arm violators face a $300 fine for a first violation, a $750 fine for a second, and a $1,000 fine for a third violation in a five-year period.

Fulton County Schools deployed American Traffic Solutions’ CrossingGuard stop-arm cameras on district buses. The cameras were activated on Feb. 8, with a 30-day warning period for motorists. Fines were slated to go into effect on March 7.

Fulton County Schools, the fourth-largest district in the state, operates a total of 760 school buses and has more than 79,000 eligible riders.

“Our bus drivers deal with the frustration of motorists ignoring their school bus stop arm every day,” said R. Sam Ham, executive director of the school system’s transportation department. “We believe this new technology will ease their mind, protect the children that they are devoted to, and create a greater awareness in the community about safe and legal driving practices.”

Related Topics: Georgia, law enforcement, stop arms, stop-arm running/illegal passing, video surveillance

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • LinuxGuy

     | about 4 years ago

    Another money grab for a non-problem. Why not stop bus drivers from running kids over? Why not use an extender to block the oncoming lane?

More Stories

School Bus Songs: ‘Stop When the Arm is Out’

Michigan City (Ind.) Area Schools’ transportation department, also known as the “stop-arm singers,” recreate The Supremes’ famous “Stop in the Name of Love” — urging motorists to think twice before illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Heidi King’s last day as acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be Aug. 31. Photo courtesy NHTSA

NHTSA Acting Administrator to Step Down

Heidi King’s last day as acting administrator of the regulatory agency will be Aug. 31. She will be replaced by James Owens, the U.S. DOT’s deputy general counsel.


School Bus Songs: 'Washboard Road'

Jay Heilman, a bus driver with Pasco County (Fla.) Schools, is joined by other members of the district’s transportation staff as he details the trials and triumphs of pupil transportation in his own catchy version of Lil Nas X's “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

File photo courtesy School Bus Safety Co.

Shake-Ups Prompt a Closer Look at Safety

Although we all agree that the motoring public needs to be more cautious, bus drivers can also help mitigate the number of dangerous incidents by following safe and consistent loading and unloading practices.

When unloading, do not step off the bus before sticking out the hand-held stop sign and checking both directions alongside the bus for hazards.

PHOTOS: California Loading, Unloading Safety

Sabine Konrad, driver instructor for Visalia Unified School District, demonstrates some key steps designed to boost safety when crossing students in the loading and unloading process use by the state.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!