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Ripped from today's headlines:

School-bus cameras are increasingly being used as a traffic-surveillance tool, generating millions of dollars from tickets as high as $500 for drivers who illegally pass by.

Local officials say the purpose of bus-mounted cameras is to change the behavior of drivers who fail to stop when buses load or unload students—violations that occur thousands of times a day nationwide and can imperil children.

Bus driver Earl Haines, who ferries public-school students in Carroll County, Md., on a bus outfitted with a camera, said the surveillance is a welcome tool for combating an old problem that he says is getting worse because of driver distraction from cellphones.

“It’s very dangerous, and it’s surprising more kids aren’t injured or killed,” he said.

Two dozen states have laws authorizing school bus-mounted cameras, 12 of which have been enacted since 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lawmakers in several states have introduced bills this year, often with bipartisan support.

School districts from Seattle to Atlanta have exterior cameras on buses. Minnesota officials said they plan to equip close to 6,000 buses with cameras using about $15 million in state funds. Motorist fines are typically between $250 and $350, but can reach $500. Camera vendors send video footage of apparent violations to police, who have the final say on issuing tickets.

School bus-mounted cameras haven’t met the same resistance as other types of automated enforcement, like speed or red-light cameras, said NCSL transportation analyst Douglas Shinkle.

“Who’s going to be antischool-children safety?” he said.

The nonprofit National Motorists Association, which says it works to protect drivers’ rights, opposes the bus cameras. Students are rarely killed in bus-stop crashes and the cameras ensnare responsible drivers who are confused about when cars must legally stop, the group’s spokeswoman said.

The cameras’ long-term safety impact isn’t clear as a result of limited data, according to a 2021 report for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide from 2010 to 2019, 92 school-age pedestrians were killed in crashes that involved school-transportation vehicles, and half of those were struck by a nonbus vehicle, NHTSA figures show.

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WoKzoo drives a school bus for the local school district.  It's a frequent thing and a very scary thing.  She is instructed to record the license plate number if she can.  The bus garage reports it to the county sheriffs department at their request.  They issue citations and allow the drivers to fight it in court.  Most don't.  They figure at a minimum, someone should figure out that they are being watched.

Michigan buses have a long pole across the front that swings into the other lane when the door is about to open.  The drivers have to intentionally not only pass the stopped school bus but drive around the pole.  When on the road, she plants her left front tire in the middle if the road to block as much of the other lane as possible with the pole.

@Parr8hed has some school bus driving experience.  I'm sure he could add a few stories.

 

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17 hours ago, Kzoo said:

WoKzoo drives a school bus for the local school district.  It's a frequent thing and a very scary thing.  She is instructed to record the license plate number if she can.  The bus garage reports it to the county sheriffs department at their request.  They issue citations and allow the drivers to fight it in court.  Most don't.  They figure at a minimum, someone should figure out that they are being watched.

Michigan buses have a long pole across the front that swings into the other lane when the door is about to open.  The drivers have to intentionally not only pass the stopped school bus but drive around the pole.  When on the road, she plants her left front tire in the middle if the road to block as much of the other lane as possible with the pole.

@Parr8hed has some school bus driving experience.  I'm sure he could add a few stories.

 

My days of bus driving were pretty chill. Out here in the country where I normally drove people were usually quite respectful. 

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