Westover, MD (March 21st, 2022) Somerset County Public Schools and Somerset County Sheriff’s Office are partnering with BusPatrol to stop the illegal passing of school buses.
Starting Monday, April 11, all 40 buses in the district fleet will be outfitted with automated enforcement technology, including stop-arm cameras. The technology captures the license plates of vehicles that ignore school buses as children are loading and unloading. If a violation occurs, the footage is forwarded to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office as part of an evidence package to be reviewed for a possible civil penalty.
Michael Bartemy, Supervisor of Transportation for Somerset County Public Schools shared: “With student safety as our number one priority, we are confident that our new BusPatrol systems will be another safeguard to minimize student transportation hazards. It’s our hope that our community takes notice of this new safety enhancement and that it provides support to local law enforcement in reducing school bus traffic violations.”
Sheriff Howard said: “The BusPatrol school bus safety program is an ongoing partnership between the Somerset County Board of Education and the Sheriff’s Office to make roads safer for children. Our number one priority is the safety of children.”
In addition to stop-arm technology, Somerset County school buses will also be outfitted with 360° safety cameras (interior, windshield, rear-view, and sideload), GPS tracking, 4G LTE connectivity, and routing solutions. The technology, installation, and maintenance are provided free through the violator-funded program.
The program in other communities has proven to make roads safer by changing driver behavior. Jean Souliere, CEO and Founder at BusPatrol, explained: “The only way to drive meaningful change is through education. Our entire program is focused on educating drivers so they make safer decisions. Once you understand the potential consequences of ignoring a school bus stop-arm, you never do it again. BusPatrol’s low recidivism rates highlight the effectiveness of our programs. In some communities, 98% of first-time violators never receive a second ticket, and violation rates drop by 30% YoY. We look forward to inspiring similar change here in Somerset County and making roads safer for local kids.”
Motorists are advised to slow down and prepare to stop when a school bus flashes its yellow warning lights before coming to a complete stop when the red lights and stop-arm are deployed. According to Maryland law, drivers approaching the bus from both directions must stop, except on divided highways with a median separation. 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.