Anne Arundel County will implement an enhanced student transportation safety plan ahead of the upcoming 2022 – 2023 school year.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) hopes to prevent dangerous driving around the County’s school buses — such as not stopping for buses on or offloading students — with the implementation of a new safety initiative in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and BusPatrol.
A major part of the initiative will upgrade all County school buses with cameras and technology to help prevent and respond to dangerous traffic violations. An AACPS press release explained the technology being used:
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 features AI-powered stop-arm cameras to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers that illegally pass school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.
In addition to stop-arm cameras, AACPS has also outfitted its buses with additional safety features such as 360-degree safety cameras for a complete view of activity inside and outside the bus, GPS tracking, and emergency response solutions.
“This program will protect our children, make our roads safer, and give parents some peace of mind,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “It is yet another collaboration between our school system, county government, and the private sector that will benefit everyone.”
According to a Tweet from County Executive Pittman, the new safety program will begin with a “warning period” and “public awareness campaign” on the first day of school. Citations for violations will start on October 1.
An AACPS press release confirms this, stating, “In addition to enforcement from county police, AACPS will run 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 as safely as possible.”
Anne Arundel County is just the latest Maryland district to implement the BusPatrol Student Safety Platform across its entire fleet. School systems in Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Queen Anne’s counties are also operating stop-arm safety programs to tackle the issue of illegal passing. In some communities, the program has reduced violations by as much as 30 percent.