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Todd knew that stop-arm violations were a problem in Montgomery County, with bus drivers reporting hundreds of violations a day. He said: “[Stop-arm violations] have been one of the largest frustrations of bus drivers for as long as I’ve been around bus drivers.”
Montgomery bus drivers were reporting so many violations that people didn’t believe the numbers: “Everybody thought our numbers were very inflated, they thought we were making up numbers.” However, results from a pilot program convinced county legislators, the police, and other community members that the reports were correct and that the illegal passing of stopped school buses was a real safety concern.
Richard Hetherington, the former program director at Montgomery County Police Department, was shocked by the number of violations in the area, saying: “We only had 25 buses with cameras on them, and monthly we were seeing around 1,000 violations. That was alarming to me.”
BusPatrol takes on a lot of the extra work required with a stop-arm camera program including the initial review of violations, compiling evidence packages, mailing out citations, and more. As well as this, BusPatrol works with the police department to create court documents and schedule people for court.
Todd has witnessed a change in driver behavior since launching the program, saying “Our repeat offender rate is around 5%, which is very low. This makes me think that we’re going to run out of first-time offenders at some point.”
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“BusPatrol has been really responsive in terms of us asking for product or process improvement along the way.
We made it a true partnership where we work together to make a great enforcement product and supported by efficient processes.”
Todd Watkins, Transportation Director, Montgomery County Public Schools