A national online survey conducted by Harris Interactive shows that two-thirds of U.S. adults support measures to use cameras to ticket motorists who violate state laws prohibiting the illegal passing of school buses.
School bus camera pilot programs conducted by ACS, a division of Xerox Company, over the past year and a half in about a half dozen school districts show buses are illegally passed at least once a day, similar to national surveys and estimates. Last summer, NASDPTS published results from similar counts performed by nearly 112,000 school bus drivers in 28 participating states a total of 37,756 stop-arm passing incidents, often involving several cars in each incident. NASDPTS added at that 13 million violations by motorists occur in a typical 180-day school year.
The ACS-Harris Interactive survey last August of 2,112 adults ages 18 and over found that 66 percent support placing cameras on the side of school buses to help ticket drivers for illegally passing school buses while loading or unloading students.
Currently, school bus drivers must try to record the license plate number of a vehicle that illegally passes a school bus, as well as other information like the location and time of the incident. Survey results show that 77 percent of U.S. adults also agree that school bus drivers are too busy focusing on student safety to record information for vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus.
“Bus drivers transport life’s most precious cargo — our children,” said Mark Talbot, president of ACS’ local government of Americas group. “A driver’s focus cannot simultaneously be on protecting a student from an illegally passing vehicle and capturing the license plate information of the offending vehicle. This survey highlights the public’s overwhelming support for safety innovation such as school bus cameras to help improve student safety.”
ACS’ CrossSafe surveillance technology is one solution aimed at changing driver behavior by deterring drivers from passing a school bus while children are boarding, leading to a reduction of collisions, injuries and fatalities. Similar to other products on the market, the video cameras are mounted near a school bus’ stop arm and capture and report school bus stop light violations by electronically sharing the video with local law enforcement. The video is watermarked with the information bus drivers aren’t able to capture, including time, date, GPS coordinates and license plate numbers.