The Austin Independent School District conducted a pilot program in 2014 with cameras mounted on the buses recording an average of 60 violations per day.

Austin School District Deploys Cameras to Stop Illegal Passing

The school district conducted a pilot program two years ago with cameras mounted on the buses recording an average of 60 violations per day. Now, with the cameras deployed, the AISD Police Department will issue warnings during the opening 30 days to motorists who illegally pass a school bus with its stop arm extended.

The Austin Independent School District has deployed cameras on the sides of its school buses in order to catch motorists who illegally pass buses that have stopped to allow children on or off. Austin ISD announced this Jan. 7, saying it is partnering with American Traffic Solutions to deploy them. The announcement cited a study by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services that found in a single day in Texas, more than 7,600 cars illegally passed stopped school buses.

"Nearly 22,000 Austin students ride one of the district’s school buses each day. We want each and every one of them to arrive at their destinations safely. Safety is our No. 1 goal when transporting students," AISD Director of Transportation Kris Hafezizadeh said. "Too many drivers choose to ignore the school bus stop-arm and think it is acceptable to pass when children are unloading and loading. With this program, we hope to significantly reduce the number of these types of violations, which will increase the overall safety of our students."

The school district conducted a pilot program two years ago with cameras mounted on the buses recording an average of 60 violations per day. Now, with the cameras deployed, the AISD Police Department will issue warnings during the opening 30 days to motorists who illegally pass a school bus with its stop arm extended.

"When a 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. Violation notices will begin on Monday, Feb. 8," according to the district's announcement. "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.

The school district has more than 83,000 students attending 130 schools.

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