By Elizabeth Perry
Sto-Rox school directors have approved an agreement with BusPatrol to install technology that would capture pictures of drivers violating Pennsylvania’s Stop Arm Law.
Cameras for the “stop arms” will be installed on school buses allowing to capture images of motorists ignoring the stop sign and red flashing lights indicating they are to stop and allow students to cross which will catch drivers who go around school buses that have their stop arms extended.
“Passing a stopped school vehicle is never OK,” Transportation Director Tina Nagel said via email.
According to Communications Director Dan Rinkus, drivers face fines between $250 to $300 with the money split among the district, BusPatrol, and the citing police department.
The district’s transit provider, ABC Transit, has been running trials with BusPatrol when servicing bus routes for the Pittsburgh Public School system, said Nagel.
According to BusPatrol and media reports, more than 100 citations were issued in the space of a few weeks.
There will be no cost to the district for the installation of this product; in fact, income could be generated from fines. BusPatrol will use their portion of the fines, and the district's, to pay for the equipment until a certain threshold. After that threshold is met, the fine money will be given to the district, Nagel said via email. At this time, the equipment has not arrived.
“There are many parts to this program, including equipment, availability of new buses due to manufacturer delays, and that may affect which routes are covered first,” Nagel said.
Nagel said the district has had a few crossing guards suffer injuries in the past from drivers violating the law. Nagel hopes the new agreement will add a layer of surveillance that may deter drivers from passing when the stop sign is out. PennDOT released a survey which stated Sto-Rox alone had two stop-arm violations during the week prior to the Oct. 20 vote, Rinkus said.