(WTVM) - Georgia leads the nation in school bus fatalities, with nearly a dozen children killed in the past five years.
Muscogee County School District (MCSD) and the Muscogee County Sheriff"s Office is partnering with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the leading photo enforcement provider in North America, to deploy CrossingGuard®, ATS newest solution to help school districts address the growing problem of illegal passing of school buses.
Cameras have been installed on at least 50 MCSD buses at no cost to the district. The CrossingGuard® school bus arm safety solution mounts cameras and sensors on the side of the school bus.
When the stop arm is deployed, the sensors automatically detect a vehicle illegally passing the stop arm in either direction and captures video of the violation and the vehicle's license plate. The video is then reviewed by the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office for approval prior to a citation being issued.
In Georgia, the penalty for the first stop-arm violation will warrant the vehicle's owner a $300 fine, a $750 fine for the second violation, and a third violation in a five-year period will result in a $1,000 fine.
The program is administered and maintained by ATS at no cost to the district. The school district will receive 25 percent of the fines in year one, 40 percent of the fines in year two, and in years three through five the district will receive 50 percent of the fines.
"I am one of the first people to respond to the scene when a child has been struck by a driver who broke the law and passed a school bus while children are loading or unloading," said David Scott Thomann, MCSD Security Supervisor. "There is no reason to violate the law and risk an injury or actually injure one of our children. Drivers must stop!"
Approximately 210 MCSD bus drivers transport 16,000 students on 850 bus routes to and from school each week.
"Our goal is to educate drivers and stop the illegal passing of school buses," said Frank Brown, MCSD Director of Transportation. "Our number-one priority is to protect the children who ride our school buses to and from school each day. We are proud to have this additional tool to help keep our children safe."
You can also contact the MCSD Director of Communications, Valerie Fuller, by calling (706) 748-2034 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.