Cobb County commissioners Tuesday voted unanimously to arm school buses with cameras that will detect drivers who don’t stop when the red lights are flashing.
By the end of the month, an Arizona company will be recommending to law officers which drivers should be fined based on video and still photographs taken with those cameras.
“Those cameras are used to capture images of vehicles that run the stop arm,” said Charlie Territo, a vice president at American Traffic Solutions.
Territo’s company has outfitted about 100 Cobb school buses with these cameras at no cost to taxpayers. Instead, American Traffic Solutions will make its money by taking a portion of the fines. Already American Traffic Solutions has cameras on board buses in Carroll County, Carrollton, Muscogee County and Newton County.
Aletha McGee, whose children have already had one close call getting off the bus, said she’s thrilled at the idea.
“There should be very stiff penalties for those who aren’t attentive behind the wheel,” she said.
Indeed, the penalties for being caught passing a school bus while it’s loading or unloading can be extremely costly. Under the new measure, drivers who are photographed violating school bus laws will be fined $300 for a first offense. Doing it again could cost up to $1,000.
“I think it should be higher,” said parent Dana Saunders, as she met her two daughters at the bus stop. “Maybe a mandatory suspension for violators. We have to do something to wake them up.”