School buses delivering students to the first day of classes in the city of Dallas are equipped with an extra safety feature. They now have cameras that will catch and ticket cars that run the “stop arm” and drive past the bus unloading students.
Nearly 900 buses running routes within the city of Dallas have the new cameras mounted on the outside and aimed at the street. Larry Duncan is president of Dallas County Schools, which runs the bus system. He says state law requires cars to stop in both directions when a school bus has the stop arms extended. But a pilot program with the cameras showed a lot of them drive on by.
“We recorded at least one violation for every bus for every trip, and sometimes as many as 10 for each trip,” said Duncan. “That’s a lot of kids in peril.”
The Texas Transportation Institute estimates more than 16,000 Texas drivers a day ignore the school bus stop-arms. Duncan says the stop-arm cameras are modeled after the red light camera program. The bus’ cameras capture the license number of the car that fails to stop and the owner receives a $300 citation. Duncan says it could be worse.
LINK: Stop-Arm Camera Program
“If a police officer stops you for this violation, it’s up to $1,000 penalty,” Duncan noted. “And the second violation is a felony, which means you could do jail time.”
This is the first school bus stop-arm camera program in the state. Violators will get warning citations for the first two weeks. Real, $300 dollar tickets start September 10th.
Duncan says this is about keeping students safe, and he hopes to expand the program later to include bus routes outside of the city of Dallas.