School bus mounted cameras busting hundreds of traffic violators - CBS46 News

School bus mounted cameras busting hundreds of traffic violators in Gwinnett County

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LAWRENCEVILLE, GA (CBS46) -

No more warnings, starting Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 drivers who illegally pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing in Gwinnett County could get a citation in the mail.

The warning period for the school districts Stop-arm Enforcement Program is over. More than 1,000 warning citations were mailed to violators over a two week span in December.

Every year, the state of Georgia picks a day and has schools count the number of drivers who illegal pass school busses when their red lights are flashing.

"The last time it was done, in Gwinnett County alone we had over 2,000 violations in one day," said Sloan Roach, executive director ofcommunications for the school district.

After years of seeing the trend, the district decided to try and do something about it.

Following the lead of several other school districts in Georgia, Gwinnett County Schools contracted with a company that stores the data recorded by cameras on the sides of busses.

The company will first look at the footage and if it appears a violation may have occurred, the file will be sent to the school district. At the district level, the school police department will review every file to determine if a violation occurred.

Some of the recorded incidents are rejected for a number of reasons. Some are simply not violations because the motion activated cameras pick up cars passing on the other side of a divided highway, which is not a violation of the law.

Other incidents are questionable, and officers use their discretion to disregard them.

"This is not a program that we are looking at to go out there and make a lot of money. We're looking just to cover the costs," said Roach. "There are cases where the stop arm may not be fully extended yet and someone may be videoed. That's not a violation that we are interested in."

The school district wants to ticket the driver with blatant disregard for the safety of children. The driver who has clear sight of the bus, the stop sign is fully extended, and the red lights are flashing, yet they drive by anyway.

First time offenders will get a ticket for $300. A second offense and the fine goes up to $750. A third offense will cost $1,000.

The school district plans to equip a total of 300 busses with the cameras, about 230 are currently operational.

The busses will be spread out to all school clusters in the county, and cover areas known to have previous violations.

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