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Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel school buses equipped with cameras; passing violation tickets start Oct. 1

This fall AACPS school buses will be equip with an exterior camera (right) to record vehicles that pass a stopped bus in violation of state law.

In an effort to improve safety for students going to school, exterior cameras have been installed on 750 Anne Arundel County Public School buses to capture images of vehicles that pass while the bright red, flashing “stop” arm is extended.

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While it’s illegal and unsafe to pass a school bus while it is stopped for students, not enough violators are caught, Anne Arundel officials said Wednesday. So, enforcement is going digital effective Oct. 1. A warning period starts Aug. 29, the first day of school.

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“This program will protect our children, make our roads safer, and give parents some peace of mind,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said Wednesday at a news conference.

The county has partnered with Virginia-based BusPatrol, which will review the photos and send possible violations to the Anne Arundel County Police Department to verify a violation occurred.

Drivers found in violation will be assessed a civil fine of $250, county police Chief Amal Awad said. Drivers going in either direction must stop at least 20 feet from the bus when it is stopped.

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New school Superintendent Mark Bedell attended the news conference, noting the importance of getting students to and from school safely.

“I urge everyone who utilizes our county’s roads to do so in a cautious manner so that we do not put our children at risk,” said Bedell, who took office Monday.

This fall AACPS school buses will be equip with an exterior camera (center) to record vehicles that pass a stopped bus in violation of state law.

BusPatrol and the county will split the revenue from violations, said Richard Hetherington, director of program management at BusPatrol, with the company receiving 60% and the county receiving 40%. BusPatrol has covered the cost and technical effort of equipping 750 buses with new cameras.

In 2019 there were about 3,000 violations in Maryland of drivers passing school buses with their stop arm engaged and flashing, 500 of which were in Anne Arundel. The same year a student from Severna Park High School was struck by a vehicle and injured while exiting a bus. The County Council approved legislation authorizing the use of the bus camera system in Anne Arundel in February 2020.

BusPatrol has similar agreements with school districts in Howard and Prince George’s counties.

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Pittman said Wednesday that other jurisdictions that have installed cameras on buses have seen a roughly 30% decrease in violations. BusPatrol officials said the numbers illustrate the program’s value.

“Once the program goes live, motorists quickly learn to slow down and respect the yellow bus,” Hetherington said. “After all, it carries our most precious cargo.”

This fall AACPS school buses will be equip with an exterior camera (center) to record vehicles that pass a stopped bus in violation of state law.

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