Atlanta schools installing school bus stop-arm cameras


Atlanta Public Schools is the latest school district to install cameras on school buses to catch drivers who break the law by passing stopped buses.

Gwinnett County, Cobb County, Clayton County, Decatur and Marietta are among the districts already using similar technology. All but Gwinnett contract with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions. Fulton County schools are also planning to install cameras on some buses.

“This program will operate just like others in the area with the expectation that they’ll achieve the same reductions in school bus stop-arm running as have been seen in neighboring communities,” ATS spokesman Charles Territo said of the Atlanta program.

ATS will mount cameras on the side of Atlanta school buses — about 20 to start, Territo said. When a bus stop arm is deployed, the camera will automatically detect vehicles passing the stop arm and capture video and still images. The Atlanta Police Department will review potential violations before issuing tickets.

Fines are $300 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for the third offense in five years. Initially, the Atlanta Police Department will issue warnings instead of tickets.

Arizona-based ATS will receive 60 percent of ticket revenue, the city of Atlanta 26.6 percent and the school district 13.4 percent, according to district records.

State law requires motorists traveling in both directions to stop for school buses that are loading and unloading (lights flashing and stop arm extended), unless the road is divided by a median. If there is a median, the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of the bus aren’t required to stop.

After 5-year-old Karla Campos was hit and killed as she stepped off her school bus in Cobb County in 2009, parents lobbied lawmakers to allow video cameras to catch violators. Georgia changed state law in 2011 to allow it. State lawmakers have since updated the 2011 law to allow school districts or outside vendors to issue violations.

Cobb County was one of the first and largest Georgia districts to use the school bus cameras in 2012.

Since installing the cameras, Cobb has seen the number of drivers illegally passing stopped school buses drop significantly, Cobb transportation director Rick Grisham said. In May of this year, about 876 citations were issued. That works out to less than one violation per bus per day, he said.

About 2 percent of drivers receiving citations in Cobb are repeat offenders.

Like Atlanta Public Schools, the Cobb schools split revenue from the bus cameras with ATS and local government. Cobb spends its cut on safety programs and equipment, Grisham said.

“Our focus is on education and awareness,” Grisham said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Opinion: The bigger-is-better promise of college consolidation isn’t true for dual enrollment
Opinion: The bigger-is-better promise of college consolidation isn’t true for dual enrollment

Rick Diguette is a frequent Get School contributor on higher ed issues. He is a local writer who retired from college teaching earlier this year. In this piece, Diguette discusses how the absorption of Georgia Perimeter College into Georgia State University has rendered the Move on When Ready program, which he worked with...
Investigators, school district mum on Lithia Springs
Investigators, school district mum on Lithia Springs

The moments immediately after a Douglas County school shooting sped by quickly. Law enforcement rushed to the scene early Thursday and within hours provided the public with a rough sketch explaining why Lithia Springs High School had closed so suddenly. A veteran teacher was wounded after shooting himself with a handgun in his classroom office around...
Lawsuit alleges DeKalb Schools teacher body-slammed, injured student
Lawsuit alleges DeKalb Schools teacher body-slammed, injured student

A lawsuit filed against the DeKalb County School District alleges a teacher at Clarkston High School body-slammed and dragged a student in May, and that the student lost consciousness and suffered a fractured jaw.  The civil suit, filed by Noe Ka Mui on behalf of his teenage son, seeks damages related to the May 5, 2017, incident. ...
Are teachers discussing Charlottesville, Confederate monuments in class? Should they be?
Are teachers discussing Charlottesville, Confederate monuments in class? Should they be?

I’ve been talking to high school students about the violence and turmoil in Charlottesville and its aftermath, including the rising call in Georgia to take down monuments that celebrate the Confederacy and its leaders. For the most part, the teens said these issues aren’t coming up in their classes. The kids weren’t sure...
Georgia valedictorians and salutatorians will now get automatic acceptance to Georgia Tech
Georgia valedictorians and salutatorians will now get automatic acceptance to Georgia Tech

From Georgia Tech this morning: The Georgia Institute of Technology will offer automatic acceptance to all Georgia high school valedictorians and salutatorians under a new program that goes into effect with this year’s graduating class. President G.P. “Bud” Peterson will unveil the Georgia Tech Scholars Program Thursday...
More Stories