Drivers caught on camera breaking the law and putting kids lives at risk.
Last school year, Burke County Public schools installed cameras on the 10 buses with the busiest routes. They have already reached double digits for citations this school year.
“We knew that we’ve always had a problem,” says Burke County Public Schools Transportation Director Clary Dishmond.
Dishmond says now the cameras confirm the problem in a visual way. He explains why they installed the 7 camera system on 10 buses.
“We had 2 students who were struck and injured while they were loading the bus one morning on river road so all of those things prompted us to kind of look and see what was out there, what was available to us to try to be proactive,” Dishmond explains.
Before the cameras, a deputy would actually have to see someone drive around the stop arm to issue a citation that would hold up in court, but not anymore.
“Once those amber lights are activated on the bus, the cameras will automatically start rolling at that particular point to start capturing any video or images leading up to the stop, during the stop and even after the stop,” Dishmond describes.
The footage serves as evidence and a $250 fine is sent in the mail based on the licence plate number and registration.
Chief Lewis Blanchard explains how to avoid a ticket and more importantly, how to protect kids while they load and unload.
“If people know that the school buses have cameras on them if they remember seeing it on TV or on a Facebook message or whatever then they do as they should, which is when the yellow lights come on instead of trying to speed up before the red lights come on, they slow down and stop because when the yellow lights come on you should be decelerating and and breaking, not waiting for the red lights,” Blanchard points out.
Since August 6th– BCPS has had 18 violations. 7 of those violations happened in the first 3 days of this week alone. Since the program went live on February 28, there have been 66 violations total.
“In May of 2019, there were 28 violations during that 3 week period leading up to school getting ready to get out and again,” Dishmond says. “Our hope is to get the word out to let the citizens and those who are driving through Burke County know that our buses are fitted with cameras and if you run the stop sign you run the risk of getting a citation in the mail.”
You have to pay the fine in order to renew your tag in Georgia. Right now, the fine is $250 and there is a plan in the works to increase the amount to $750.