Austin ISD Launches School Bus Stop-Arm Safety Program
On Thursday, Austin ISD is launching a program to improve the safety of students as they are picked up and dropped off by school buses.
AISD is partnering with American Traffic Solutions, who will install cameras on buses to address the problem of illegal passing of school buses that are stopped and have lights flashing.
The cameras will capture images of vehicles that fail to stop while a school bus stop-arm is extended. A recent study completed by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services found that in a single day in Texas, more than 7,600 cars illegally passed stopped school buses.
A warning period of 30 days begins Thursday, Jan. 7. Citations will be given after the 30-day warning period.
What: Superintendent Paul Cruz, Transportation Director Kris Hafezizadeh and AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez will demonstrate how the district’s bus stop-arm cameras operate, provide an update about the violations recorded to date and offer bus safety reminders for Austin drivers.
When: 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 7
Where: Allison Elementary School, 515 Vargas Road
The school bus stop-arm safety cameras will be mounted on the side of each school bus. When the stop-arm is deployed, the camera automatically detects a vehicle passing the bus in either direction and captures video of the violation and still images of a vehicle’s license plate. When a school bus is stopped with its lights flashing, drivers in all lanes must stop unless they are on the other side of a median.
The violation video and license plate images are then reviewed by AISD law enforcement officials for approval prior to a citation being issued. In Texas, the penalty for a first stop-arm violation will result in a $300 fine for the vehicle’s owner.
The process is completely automated, allowing the school bus driver to focus on operating the bus and protecting its passengers. The cameras will initially be installed on 30 buses and will continue to be installed until all AISD regular route buses have them.