DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Central Dauphin School District has announced a partnership with local enforcement and BusPatrol to launch a new School Bus Safety Program.
This program has been put in place to help keep students safer this winter by tracking motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.
According to a release from the school district, the entire fleet of 122 Central Dauphin school buses with being outfitted with automated enforcement technology. This technology will detect the license plates of vehicles that fail to stop for school buses. Video evidence will then be shared with local law enforcement, who will review the footage before a citation is issued.
The program is set to go live in December, following an education and public awareness campaign. Central Dauphin’s campaign is targeted at motorists and learner drivers and will help teach them school bus safety laws, as well as teaching school children how to safely get on and off the bus.
According to Central Dauphin School District, last October Pennsylvania authorities reported more than 250 stop-arm violations in one day during Operation Safe Stop. In 2020, Allentown School District captured more than 200 illegal passings on just two school buses over a 47-day stop-arm study. This averages out to about 2.18 violations per bus per day. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends the use of school bus photo enforcement to reduce the rate of illegal passings.
“Every day, thousands of cars ignore school bus stop-arms and speed past school buses as children are stepping on and off. Sadly, this dangerous motorist behavior is only getting worse. Our safety programs combine education and enforcement to change driver behavior and ensure that all motorists know when to stop for the big yellow bus. In some communities, our programs have reduced the rate of illegal passing by up to 30% year-over-year,” said Jean Souliere, CEO, and Founder of BusPatrol.
Central Dauphin School District was also equipping its buses with safety features at no cost to the district or taxpayers. This technology, installation, and maintenance are funded by violation revenue over a 5-year term.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says that motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses with red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. The penalty for a first-time violation is $300.