Driving past a school bus when its stop arm is extended is illegal, and in Pittsburgh it may become a more costly decision by motorists as the city school board is set to vote next week to approve a five-year contract with Bus Patrol, reported Post-Gazette News.
Bus Patrol utilizes artificial and machine learning to monitor the area around stopped school buses with video cameras and document any illegal passings. Any information collected will then be turned over to the police, in order to deter future infractions.
Bus Patrol’s tech was installed on 20 buses in various areas of the city between May 1 and mid-June as part of its pilot program. According to the company, during that time period there were 553 violations, or 0.8 violations per bus, per day.
That rate is reportedly double what the company finds on average across of all its aggregate programs. CEO and founder of BusPatrol Jean Souliere stated this highlights a serious program in Pittsburgh.
Souliere reportedly said during a presentation that the numbers of violations drop by 20 to 30 percent in the first year that a school district is in the program.
During the presentation, videos of vehicles passing stopped Pittsburgh school buses during the pilot program were shown. Some vehicles were shown narrowly missing children and parents walking across the street.
Bus Patrol already works with several districts in various states, including Pennsylvania. Its plan is reportedly to launch the program at 20 more school districts in the state this fall.
The company’s tech collects video of an offense and other information and turns it into an evidence package that is sent to the police. If police then approve the citation, Bus Patrol prints it and mails it to the vehicle owner. The individual can then go online and view a video of their vehicle passing a stopped bus.
The program has reportedly proven to increase safety since 98 percent of offenders do not get cited by the company a second time. The program comes at no cost to the district as it pays for itself.
If approved by the board, the technology could be installed on the city’s school buses before the start of the school year.
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