Every day in Pennsylvania, hundreds of motorists fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. McKeesport Area School District aims to reduce dangerous driving around its school buses with the launch of a new safety program in partnership with local police and BusPatrol.
Starting in February, all 50 school buses in the district will be upgraded with automated enforcement technology to detect the license plates of vehicles that fail to stop for school buses, putting children at risk. The video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review before a citation is issued.
The program is set to go live at the start of February, following an education and public awareness campaign. The campaign seeks to educate motorists and learner drivers about school bus safety laws and teach school children how to get on and off the bus as safely as possible. This education will be ongoing once the program is live.
“Our focus is, and always will be, on SAFETY. The BusPatrol safety program supports Krise Transportation’s mission to provide school districts in Pennsylvania with safe and reliable student transportation. We are pleased to partner with BusPatrol and the McKeesport Area Schools District as part of our continuous safety program to improve safety for students in our school districts” – states President and owner of Krise Transportation, Inc.
Last October, Pennsylvania authorities reported more than 250 stop-arm violations in one day during Operation Safe Stop. In 2020, Allentown School District captured more than 200 illegal passings on just two school buses over a 47-day stop-arm study. This is equal to 2.18 violations per bus per day.
“This latest partnership with McKeesport Area School District will improve safety for children by reducing the number of times motorists blow past stopped school buses,” said Kate Spree, a spokesperson for BusPatrol. “Our safety program is focused on educating drivers to effectively correct motorist behavior over time.”
In addition to stop-arm cameras, McKeesport will equip its buses with safety features at no cost to the district or taxpayers. The technology, installation, and maintenance are funded by violation revenue over a 5-year term.
As stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses with red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. The penalty for a first-time violation is $300.