|By Business Wire||
|February 11, 2014 11:30 AM EST||
School officials around the country are evaluating methods for improving student safety at school bus stops. Among them, automated stop-arm enforcement, a specialized camera system designed to detect and deter drivers from illegally passing school buses while children are loading or unloading.
In 2013, 15 crashes directly resulting from illegal school bus passing resulted in 18 injuries and deaths. A sampling includes:
- News 12 Connecticut reports a 17-year-old suffered a broken leg after being hit by a car that illegally passed a school bus.
- KOIN reports three children were hit by a car as they tried to board a bus in Kelso, Wash.
- A teen was hit by a vehicle and killed in Salisbury, N.C. while crossing the street at a school bus stop, reports WRTV.
- A 5-year-old child dies after stepping off a school bus and being hit by a truck near Pembroke, Ga., reports the Athens Banner-Herald.
To combat illegal school bus passing and prevent more tragedies, officials are testing and implementing automated stop-arm enforcement programs. School buses on problematic routes are outfitted with a camera system that is triggered to capture data as a vehicle passes the bus while the stop arm is extended and lights are flashing. The data, including photos and video of the incident, is reviewed and placed into an evidence file. Local law enforcement officers review the evidence to determine whether a citation is warranted.
“Far too many drivers underestimate the consequences of illegally passing a school bus. Cutting a few minutes off your commute is not worth endangering a child’s life,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of Redflex Student Guardian™, a provider of automated stop-arm enforcement technology and programs. “Photo enforcement is one of the most effective ways to curb this dangerous behavior, while also holding violators accountable.”
O’Connor adds photo enforcement on school buses is valuable for entire communities, not only selected routes. He breaks down the benefits:
- Deterrent: The presence of the camera system serves as a deterrent to breaking the law. Motorists considering the gamble are likely to stay put when they see the cameras.
- Accountability: Many drivers pass buses because they know they can get away with it. Automated enforcement changes that, enabling officers to cite violators based on photo and video evidence.
- Police Force Multiplier: It’s unrealistic for officers to trail every school bus every school day, and nab each driver who ignores the stop arm. This technology serves as a “police force multiplier,” allowing officers to refocus their energies on other high-priority tasks while ensuring the safety of school bus routes.
- Community Awareness: Community outreach surrounding the installation of a photo enforcement system helps raise awareness about all facets of school bus safety. Parents, children and drivers in general are more cautious on the roadways and reminded their actions can have serious repercussions.
Automated stop-arm enforcement is currently enabled in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Legislators in additional states are considering enablement.
Student Guardian is a leading provider of stop-arm enforcement, operating the largest amount of ticket-generating programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.redflexstudentguardian.com.
About Redflex Traffic Systems®, Inc.
Redflex Traffic Systems®, a leader in road safety technology, operates more than 2,000 photo enforcement systems in more than 220 cities throughout the United States and Canada. With continuous development of new safety products, Redflex has been helping to reduce collisions and save lives for the past 25 years. For more information, visit www.redflex.com.