WESTOVER, MD, August 1, 2022 – Last spring, Somerset County Public Schools (SCPS) and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office partnered with BusPatrol, a safety technology company, to install state-of-the-art camera systems on the interior and exterior of all 40 buses in service throughout the district. Exterior bus cameras are designed to capture images and video of motorists who fail to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights and stop-arm engaged. Violator footage is forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office as part of an evidence package to be reviewed, resulting in a $250 citation issued to motorists with a confirmed violation. The technology, installation, and maintenance of the BusPatrol system is fully funded by violator citation revenue, at no cost to SCPS or the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.
In April, 37 red light violations were captured with 23 citations issued for illegal passing of a school bus. For the month of May, 40 violations were captured with 26 citations issued. From the program’s inception on April 11 through the last day of the 2021-2022 school year on June 16, bus camera systems captured 98 traffic violations. 57 of those violations resulted in citations, generating over $14,000 in revenue to support the BusPatrol program.
Somerset County Sheriff’s Corporal and SCPS Bus Driver Trainer, Lemuel White Jr. shared, “In reviewing the violations, there were some close calls where drivers failed to stop, even with students on the sidewalk waiting to cross the roadway. We take the safety of children very seriously at the Somerset Sheriff’s Office, and a hefty $250 fine is hard to ignore. We are optimistic that the program will discourage repeat-offenders. A second violation could result in more fines, and an accident involving one of our students could cost you, the victim, and both of your families a lot more. Stop for the bus!”
With the program still in its infancy, more time and data is required to observe a measurable reduction in school bus traffic violations. For transparency, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office has committed to publishing program results on a quarterly basis.
When a school bus has activated its flashing red lights prior to making a stop, motorists must stop unless there is a positive median barrier between their vehicle and the school bus.
Every SCPS school bus is equipped with external cameras to capture images of motorists who illegally pass school buses stopped with flashing red lights and stop-arm engaged. Footage of suspected violations are forwarded to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for review, resulting in a $250 citation issued to motorists with a confirmed violation
A birds-eye view of motorists illegally passing a school bus that has stopped to allow students to disembark.
BusPatrol is a safety technology company with the mission of making the journey to and from school safer for children. BusPatrol's safety programs change driver behavior and create a culture of awareness and responsibility around school buses. In addition, they provide accessibility for school districts, and municipalities to modernize their entire school bus fleets by outfitting them with the latest stop-arm, route planning, and route execution technology. You can find more information about BusPatrol at www.buspatrol.com