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Harnett County Schools Unveils Smarter, Safer Buses to Protect Students at School Bus Stops and Enforce School Bus Stopping Laws

Harnett County, NC (September 1, 2021) Harnett County Schools and the County of Harnett have partnered with BusPatrol to implement a new safety initiative to protect students when they return to school. School buses will be equipped with AI-powered stop-arm cameras that capture the license plates of vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses to help local law enforcement curb school bus stop-arm violations.

Harnett County Schools is the first school district in North Carolina to partner with BusPatrol to launch its school bus safety program.

As part of the partnership, all 300 school buses will be equipped with LTE connectivity, emergency response technology, and stop-arm enforcement solutions. This includes a bundle of eight cloud-managed 360-degree safety cameras including stop-arm cameras. The equipment, installation, and maintenance are provided at zero cost to the school district, county, or taxpayer.

According to reports, more than 3,000 drivers illegally pass school buses every day in North Carolina. Every time a driver ignores a school bus stop-arm, a child is put at risk.

The safety program combines education and enforcement to improve school bus safety and reduce the rate that drivers illegally pass school buses. In fact, stop-arm violations have been reduced by up to 30% year-over-year in communities that have implemented a BusPatrol school bus safety program.

Dr. Aaron L. Fleming, Superintendent of Harnett County Schools, said: “Student safety is paramount to Harnett County Schools, and we are proud to have BusPatrol as a partner. Our students’ safety starts and ends with a bus ride and parents put their trust in our hands. We know that our students’ transportation is even more safe and secure with BusPatrol.”

Speaking about the program, Jean Souliere, CEO and Founder at BusPatrol, said: “Our goal is to create a reflex in drivers, so that every time they see a school bus on the roads, they slow down and prepare to stop. This partnership represents an exciting milestone for BusPatrol, as it’s the first time we are launching a program in North Carolina. We’re proud to partner with Harnett County Schools and the County of Harnett to make roads safer for local students.”

According to North Carolina DMV, when a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle that approaches the school bus from any direction on the same street, highway or public vehicular area shall bring the other vehicle to a full stop and remain stopped. The driver of the other vehicle shall not proceed to move, pass or attempt to pass the school bus until the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off and the bus has started to move. The penalty for a first-time violation according to state law is $400.

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