Methacton School District has launched a new partnership dedicated to student safety with BusPatrol and the district’s transportation provider, First Student.
The district’s fleet of 100 school buses will be equipped with stop-arm cameras to deter drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses in Lower Providence Township and Worcester Township. The camera system is positioned to capture vehicles that pass a school bus while the stop arm is extended and flashing red lights are activated.
“Student safety is of the utmost importance,” said Dr. David Zerbe, Superintendent of Methacton School District. “We hope this program will help bring awareness to the community to be more careful around school buses at any time of day. We want everyone to get where they are going – safely.”
Law enforcement will review and confirm that a violation occurred before a civil violation notice is generated by BusPatrol and sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Lower Providence Township Police serves Lower Providence Township. The Pennsylvania State Police serves Worcester Township.
“Safety within our community is our department’s top priority, especially amongst our children,” said Chief Michael Jackson, Lower Providence Township Police Department. “Deploying this new technology to increase driver awareness and deter reckless driving is, in my opinion, the most logical way to continue providing that safety to our children and community as a whole.”
The program will roll out in the coming weeks and will include a warning period before going into effect. Timothy Bricker, Methacton School District Business Director said: “Our buses transport more than 5,000 students to and from school each day. The BusPatrol program allows the school district to upgrade our current school bus safety technology at no cost to taxpayers.”
According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, drivers across the U.S. are reported to blow past school buses 17 million times a year. Just one violation could cost a life.
“The safety of the children we transport is our number one goal every day,” said Greg Gallagher, Area General Manager at First Student, Inc. “The bus drivers are very excited about this program. They see firsthand, while out on the road, the need to reduce the amount of drivers who run through a stopped school bus with red lights flashing.”
The technology, installation, and maintenance are all provided at zero cost to Methacton School District. BusPatrol’s platform is entirely violator-funded, and any additional revenue can be used to fund school bus safety initiatives.
Jean Souliere, CEO & Founder at BusPatrol, said: “Every time a driver blows past a stopped school bus, a child’s life is put at risk. Our platform uses AI and IoT technology to change driver behavior. In fact, our programs are proven to reduce the number of times drivers illegally pass school buses by as much as 30% year over year.”
Pennsylvania state law requires drivers to stop at least 10 feet away from a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and stop-arm deployed. Drivers must stop for a school bus approaching in any direction to allow children to enter and exit the bus safety. A violation for a driver captured by the stop-arm camera will result in a $300 fine.