School Bus Fleet

August 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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24 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • A U G U S T 2 0 1 4 there is a clear need for enforceable consequences for drivers. Though ci- tations are the agreed upon method of enforcing these violations, offcials ex- amine how exactly to catch drivers and prosecute them to prevent additional violations in the future. Charles Territo, the senior vice pres- ident of communications, marketing and public affairs for American Traffc Solutions, which has partnered with AngelTrax in the distribution of these stop-arm systems, points out that it isn't realistic to assume that school dis- tricts can afford to install outside cam- eras on all of their school buses. How- ever, this doesn't prevent districts from running successful programs. "What you need to do is make sure you have cameras on the buses on the most dangerous routes, and to imple- ment an aggressive public relations program that informs drivers in the community that the buses and the cam- eras are operating. Just like you don't have red light cameras at every inter- section; there is a halo effect that oc- curs," Territo says. With its system, American Traffc So- lutions issued 14,000 school bus stop- arm violations across more than 20 dis- tricts in the 2013-14 school year. Territo goes on to explain that the most viola- tions occur equally in the morning and the afternoon at 7 to 8 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m., and that Wednesday is the day of the week with the most reported stop- arm violations. Jody Ryan, the director of commu- nications for Redfex Traffc Systems, shares the number of captured viola- tions across two school districts that Redfex has worked with: Lancaster, Ohio, and Bartow County, Georgia. Since Lancaster launched Redfex's Student Guardian program at the be- ginning of the 2013-14 school year as a way to increase child safety, it has equipped six school buses with the stop-arm camera technology and more than 70 drivers have been cited at $250 per violation. In Bartow County, the Student Guardian program has led to 547 tickets being issued, with drivers facing fnes of up to $1,000. Frank Bowden, sales manager for Fortress Mobile, explains that since North Carolina has seen a high num- ber of stop-arm violations, it is imple- menting a very strong system. Not only is there a fne involved with ille- gally passing a bus, but a citation also brings added points against a license. With this, of course, comes stringent re- view of video footage to ensure that it is, in fact, a violation. Bowden says, "Aside from a DUI or a DWI, a violation of a school bus brings the highest points on a driver's license. Just like they say when you get your li- cense, it's a privilege, not a right." Educating the public According to a 2013 study by the Na- tional Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, 29 states found that more than 85,000 vehicles il- legally passed 108,000 school buses in one day. Despite the presence of fashing lights, stop arms and now stop-arm cameras, vehicles continue to pass school buses and break the law. Per- haps it is because they feel they won't be caught, or perhaps it is just because they are not aware of the potential vi- olation. Regardless, stop-arm camera suppliers are developing systems to help address the problem. According to Rob Scott, the vice pres- ident of sales and marketing at 247Se- curity, the most logical and straightfor- ward solution is a system that reduces the frequency of violations, and this comes directly from educating the pub- lic. Since school districts have installed and begun using stop-arm cameras, the manufacturers and districts have worked together to notify the public about the increased enforcement sur- rounding stop-arm violations. Almost all the programs would not be success- ful without the assistance of local law enforcement. Lori Jetha, the marketing and com- munications manager for Seon, ex- plains how Tom Oestreich, transpor- tation director at Bloomington (Minn.) Public Schools, partnered with local law enforcement to raise awareness for his stop-arm program by setting up a sting operation to catch stop-arm vio- lators in action. The sting involved po- lice offcers stationed at key bus stops prepared to pull over drivers as soon as they passed a deployed bus stop arm. Local media coverage helped spread the word about his newly installed Seon stop-arm cameras. Because this STOP-ARM CAMERA PROGRAM Image courtesy 247Security Stop-arm cameras can help catch bus-passing violations and serve as a deterrent to prevent them.

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