Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and Charles County Sheriff’s Office is launching a new school bus safety program this week, in partnership with safety technology company, BusPatrol. The program will launch Thursday, Nov. 18., and will see all buses equipped with advanced safety technology.
As part of the partnership, all 375 school buses in the district will be equipped with technology to make the journey to and from school safer for students. This includes:
- AI-powered stop-arm cameras to deter drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses
- 360° safety cameras (interior, windshield, rearview, and sideload) to provide a full view of activity surrounding the school bus
- Emergency response solutions to enable student transportation officials to react immediately
- GPS solutions to see where and when the bus is at any given time
The technology, installation, and maintenance are provided at zero cost through BusPatrol’s violator-funded model.
This Thursday, Nov. 18., marks the start of a 60-day warning period. Motorists that violate school bus stopping laws and put children at risk can expect to receive a warning letter in the mail, reminding them of the importance of school bus safety. Citations will be issued starting Monday, Jan. 17., All citations will be reviewed by a sworn in officer at Charles County Sheriff’s Office and issued through the BusPatrol program.
“The partnership between Charles County Public Schools (CCPS), BusPatrol and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is important to the safety of our school communities. Not only does the technology support the safe boarding and unboarding of our students from school buses, it deters drivers from passing stopped school buses. The partnership also provides CCPS with internal cameras for use on school buses that will help bus drivers and attendants better monitor students on buses,” Superintendent of Schools Maria Navarro said.
“Keeping our school children safe, especially as they enter or exit the bus is a priority. It is the law for motorists to stop for school buses when the red flashers are on. Sadly, we have encountered drivers either who ignore the law or who are not paying attention. Either way, this program will raise awareness of the requirements of the law when it comes to school bus stops and ultimately improve the safety of students,” said Sheriff Berry.
“Every time a driver illegally passes a stopped school bus, a child is put at risk. This back-to-school season has been one of the most dangerous in recent history, making now the perfect time to take action to make roads safer for students,” said Jean Souliere, CEO and Founder of BusPatrol. “Studies show that drivers illegally pass stopped school buses 17 million times a year in the U.S. By partnering with school districts like CCPS, we can work to reduce this number to zero.”
On all roads except divided highways with a median separation, drivers must stop in both directions, according to Maryland law. Drivers must not proceed again until the school bus turns off its flashing red lights or begins moving. A first-time violation issued through an automated enforcement system is $250, or $570 and three points against your license if witnessed by an officer.
BusPatrol School Bus Safety Programs are working to improve school bus safety through education and enforcement in Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Queen Anne’s counties.