A Maryland county plans to use technology to increase the safety of students at bus stops.
The Montgomery County Council approved a bill earlier this month to allow for the installation of cameras on school buses in an effort to record vehicles that illegally pass the buses when they’re stopped.
Bill 37-11 authorizes the county’s police chief to install the cameras on school buses to monitor traffic as a way to protect school children who ride the bus, according to a statement from the County Council.
“Given the obvious danger of people driving past school buses that are picking up or discharging students, and given that this dangerous situation occurs frequently, it is crucial to try to deter their dangerous driving behavior through placing cameras on school buses to protect school children,” said Councilman Phil Andrews in a statement.
Drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses and are caught through the video footage may be required to pay a maximum civil fine of up to $250, however, no points would then be assessed to the person’s driving record, according the council’s announcement.
According to a Maryland State Department of Education survey from March 2011, more than 7,000 drivers illegally passed stopped buses in Maryland within a single day. More than 4,700 (about 65 percent) of bus drivers in the state participated in the survey.
In Montgomery County alone, the approximately 1,500 school bus drivers file nearly 750,000 reports per year — or 500 reports each — about drivers who illegally pass the school bus they drive.
“One hundred thousand kids ride a bus to school in Montgomery County,” said County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. “Anything that we can do to keep them safe is a worthwhile endeavor.”