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Citations on the Rise: AISD Reminds Drivers to Stop for School Buses

As the spring semester begins, the Austin ISD Transportation Department encourage drivers to be extra cautious around school buses and school zones.
 
While few ticketed violators repeat the offense, the number of overall citations are on the rise. 
 
In 2017, 17,244 citations were given, up from 12,936 in 2016.   
 
Source: American Traffic Solutions
 
Since the district launched the bus stop-arm camera program in February 2016, the number of school bus stop-arm violations committed by vehicles registered in Austin have decreased by 12 percent, according to CrossingGuard, which is the program administrator. In February 2016, 70 percent of the violations came from vehicles registered in the city and as of November 2017, 62 percent of violations came from Austin's registered vehicles.  
 
"Our school bus safety stop-arm program is working to change driver behavior in Austin. Data illustrates that residents are more aware about school bus safety and this important issue," said AISD Executive Director of Transportation Kris Hafezizadeh. "There is a low rate of recidivism, where 98 percent of those ticketed do not reoffend, indicating a lesson learned. Drivers need to be very aware of children walking to and from schools and bus stops."
 
  
Source: American Traffic Solutions
 
Since the program began, cameras have captured at least six occasions of a student being hit by a vehicle that failed to stop for an extended school bus stop-arm, and multiple near misses.  
 
Reminders for all drivers:
  • Be watchful around schools and bus stops for children, who may run into the street.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus.
  • Look out for children entering the street near buses and between cars.
  • Drive slowly when approaching children riding bicycles or walking near the street.
  • When driving near children, bus stops and school zones, expect the unexpected.
  • Watch your speed when entering school zones. Be mindful of cell-phone restrictions and reduced speed requirements.
The fine for failing to stop for a school bus in Austin is $300 when caught on camera. Drivers could face fines as much as $1,250 if caught by a police officer. Motorists are prohibited by state law from passing a school bus that is displaying a "stop" signal. All traffic in both directions must come to a complete stop for school buses that are stopped and displaying the "stop" signal. Traffic traveling in the opposite direction is exempt from stopping if the roadway is separated by a fence or other physical barrier or by an unpaved median.
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AISD is the largest school district in central Texas. Follow AISD on Facebook at www.facebook.com/austinisd, Instagram at @austinisd or on Twitter at @AustinISD