Are Metro Atlanta school bus cameras working? - CBS46 News

Are Metro Atlanta school bus cameras working?

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A spokesperson with the Cobb County School district said the number of people caught on camera illegally blowing pass stopped buses has been cut in half.

“Obviously the word is out there… We have 122 buses equipped with cameras. Obviously you can’t tell unless you look really close that they’re there. So the assumption is that every one of our buses have cameras,” said Michael Warner with the Cobb County School District.

Warner said the cameras are mounted on the side of buses and are activated once the driver stops and the bus stop sign comes out.

Warner said they saw roughly 1,800 violations per day when the cameras were first installed in 2012.

“I think it’s hard to quantify it, but I think there’s a lot more attention brought to the school buses now because of the stop arm program. People are paying attention to the big yellow bus…,” said Warner.

Warner said the company which installed the cameras controls how many cameras are issued to the district.

“We don’t pay anything, Cobb County School District, and believe it or not, the work is free.  Obviously most people will say, ‘nothing is free,’ but in this case, for the most part, it is free to us… Really the only (thing) Cobb County has to do … is make sure they’re (cameras) on those high violation routes,” he adds.

Gwinnett County School District has stop arm cameras on 900 of its 1,900 buses. Spokesperson Sloan Roach said, due to the stop arm cameras, through September police have issued roughly 4,500 citations this year.

Roach said the district would like to see the number of citations reduced significantly.

“We do have a lot of people out there who “A” either do not know the law or more importantly “B” they are not following the law,” said Roach.

In both counties, first-time violators faces a $300 fine, second-time violators face a $750 fine and third-time violators face a $1,000 fine.

Both counties said citation fees are split between the county, the school district and the company which installed the cameras.

A spokesperson with the DeKalb County School District said, although the district’s buses do not have cameras, the search is on for a vendor which will install stop arm cameras. The spokesperson said a recommendation will be made to the district’s board early next year.

Fulton County School District has yet to roll out its bus arm cameras. Spokesperson Susan Hale said their district includes several municipalities and an agreement must be outlined with each. Hale said the district has identified four routes in Roswell which it is in the process of providing cameras.

Additionally, she said two routes have been identified in College Park. Hale said the district is finalizing arrangements with College Park this week.  The cameras, according to Hale, are of no cost to the district and are being funded by the vendor, American Traffic Solutions.

Hale said they are in the process of outfitting buses in anticipation of the signed agreements. To date, Hale said they have met with 11 municipalities to explain the program and why it is necessary to ensure student safety. She said the cities of Roswell and College Park are the first to officially come on board. 

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