WARNER ROBINS -- For the third time, the Houston County school board is expected to delay action on outfitting some school buses with cameras in an effort to crack down on motorists failing to stop when a school bus arm is extended for the boarding or disembarking of students.
School Superintendent Robin Hines told board members at Monday night’s work session that some details still needed to be worked out and that the matter would be carried over to the October meeting. There was no additional discussion of the proposal itself.
The measure was tabled at the board’s meetings in July and August. It was on the agenda for Monday’s work session and Tuesday’s regular meeting.
During a break in the work session, Hines said the delay is simply to give attorneys for the school system and the county time to meet and review the contract.
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Hines said he’s in no hurry and wants to make sure everyone is on the same page. He said he expects the measure to pass when it comes up for a vote.
The proposal calls for American Traffic Solutions of Scottsdale, Ariz., to equip 20 of the system’s buses with cameras that would capture footage and still images of motorists who fail to stop when the bus arm is extended.
The private company would be responsible for the cost of the cameras, installation and maintenance. The Houston County Sheriff’s Office would be responsible for reviewing the footage and signing off on the issuance of violations. Revenues generated by violator fines would be shared among the company, sheriff’s office and school system. The lion’s share initially would go to the company to offset installation and operational costs.
In Georgia, the penalty for continuing to travel when a school bus is stopped with arm extended is $300 for the first offense. The second offense is $750, and the third within a five-year period is $1,000.
Hines noted that the intent of adding the cameras is not to generate revenue but to raise public awareness and improve student safety. In two one-day surveys conducted by the school system during two school years, 122 motorists failed to stop as required when students were boarding or exiting buses.
Nationally, a similar snapshot by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services found that 164,710 motorists failed to stop for an extended arm of a school bus.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.