School system, county and police partner on new retrofit bus initiative to improve student safety in Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County, MD, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Every day in Maryland, thousands of drivers fail to stop for school buses and put children’s lives at risk. Anne Arundel County Public Schools hopes to end dangerous driving around its school buses starting this fall with the launch of a new safety initiative in partnership with Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department and BusPatrol.
As part of the initiative, the entire AACPS bus fleet of approximately 750 school buses, including those owned by contractors, is being upgraded with advanced safety technology that includes handheld cameras AI-powered stops to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers who illegally overtake school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.
“There is no greater cornerstone in the foundation of educational success than the ability to transport students safely to and from our school buildings,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark T. Bedell. . “This partnership is another step in achieving that goal, and we are grateful to those who have invested time, resources and energy into it. I urge everyone who uses the roads in our county to do so with caution so as not to put our children at risk.
The partnership aligns with Anne Arundel County’s recent commitment to Vision Zero, a global movement to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries to zero.
“This program will protect our children, make our roads safer and give parents some peace of mind,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “This is yet another collaboration between our school system, county government and the private sector that will benefit everyone.”
The program will launch on October 1, 2022, following a warning period and public awareness campaign that will begin with the start of classes on August 29.
Richard Hetherington, Director of Program Management at BusPatrol, said: “In recent years we have seen an increase in dangerous driving habits with more accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided. The safety program will significantly change driver behavior around school buses in Anne Arundel. Once the program is online, motorists quickly learn to slow down and respect the yellow bus. After all, it carries our most valuable cargo.
AACPS is the latest district in Maryland to implement the BusPatrol student safety platform across its entire fleet. School systems in Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George and Queen Anne counties also have anti-arm safety programs to tackle the problem of illegal overtaking. In some communities, the program has reduced violations by up to 30%.
In addition to stop arm cameras, AACPS has also equipped its buses with additional safety features such as 360-degree security cameras for a full view of activity inside and outside the bus. buses, GPS tracking and emergency response solutions.
The technology, installation and maintenance of the school bus safety program is funded by violation revenues over a five-year period.
By state law, vehicles approaching from either direction must stop at least 20 feet from a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing. Motorists may not continue until the school vehicle starts moving again or the flashing red lights are turned off. This does not apply to vehicles approaching on a different road or on a separate highway.
In addition to county police enforcement, the AACPS will organize an awareness campaign to educate motorists, especially new drivers, about school bus safety laws and teach school children how to get on and off the bus. in the safest way possible.
BusPatrol is a safety technology company on a mission to make the journey to and from school safer for children. For more information on the company’s programs, visit www.buspatrol.com.