American Traffic Solutions said the newly released 2013 Stop Arm Survey from NASDPTS shows that video surveillance enforcement programs implemented by school districts are slowly but surely working.
For example, ATS said the number of vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses is down by 50 percent in the Cobb County (Ga.) School District, from about 1,800 last year to 900 this year. The district has been using the company's CrossingGuard cameras, which capture footage that law enforcement can use to prosecute violators. ATS said similar results can be found in Muscogee County School District, which reported nearly 300 stop-arm violations in 2011, but only 142 in 2012 with CrossingGuard cameras in place, a 52.6-percent decrease.
A preliminary analysis of the survey results found that 12,136 school bus drivers in Georgia, which has seen a large number of school districts add video cameras that record illegal passers, observed 7 percent fewer incidents during a one-day count on April 25. While the data was reported slightly differently this year, the study showed that 6,807 passes were counted compared to 7,349 last year. In 2011, the first year of the survey, Georgia bus drivers recorded 8,102 incidents.
"It appears that after only one year, Georgia, the state with more CrossingGuard school bus cameras than any other state, has started to see significant reductions in stop arm violations," Charles Territo, senior vice president of public affairs at ATS, told STN. "Our hope is that the combination of our industry-leading public awareness campaigns and turnkey enforcement solution, the reductions in illegal stop arm running will be even greater next year."
In addition to the stop-arm video cameras and violation processing system, ATS also provides customers with video PSAs that illustrate the dangers of illegal passing, Web banners for social media sites, place mats, public opinion polling and templates that can be used for publishing awareness articles in the local media.
"ATS offers these services because of its commitment to raise public awareness for the need to improve driver behavior," the company said in a statement.
The number of drivers nationwide who participated in the NASDPTS stop-arm study rose to 108,436, an 8.5-percent increase over last year, and the number of passing cars observed fell by slightly more than 3 percent to 85,279. Still, NASDPTS warned in its reports that violations elsewhere across the country remain "unfortunately consistent" in their high numbers of report passings. In 2011, 111,914 school bus drivers participated and recorded 76,685 motorists passed the yellow buses illegally.