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NCSS to install bus cameras

American Traffic Solutions Inc. will begin installing cameras and sensors on bus arms next month after entering into a five-year agreement with the Newton County School System and the Newton County Sheriff's Office to catch more violations of vehicles that illegally pass stopped buses. -Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn Smith

American Traffic Solutions Inc. will begin installing cameras and sensors on bus arms next month after entering into a five-year agreement with the Newton County School System and the Newton County Sheriff's Office to catch more violations of vehicles that illegally pass stopped buses. -Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn Smith

COVINGTON -- If you are used to driving past stopped school buses without fear of repercussions, there is a higher probability you will be fined in the future.

The Newton County School System has entered into a five-year agreement with American Traffic Solutions Inc. and the Newton County Sheriff's Office that would implement a bus arm camera program aimed at catching more violators.

The Newton County Board of Education recently unanimously approved the agreement recommended by NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews, and ATS plans to begin installing cameras on about 10 percent -- or 23 to 24 buses -- next month, according to Michael Barr, director of Support Services at NCSS.

"Annually, the school system participates in a school bus stop arm violation survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services," Barr said. "The school system and ATS will use the data collected in this survey to identify those routes that would most benefit from the installation of the cameras."

In the past, bus drivers were responsible for writing down vehicle tag numbers and information of those individuals who would not stop for buses while picking up or letting students off buses.

"Generally, that led to no reports," said Dr. Dennis Carpenter, NCSS deputy superintendent of Operations.

Barr said eight students were killed at bus stops around the state this year, and Dan Hoven, vice president of business development for ATS, said Georgia seems to be one of the states with a high rate of accidents involving a school bus.

"It's a serious issue, and we want to do everything we can," Barr said.

The video cameras' sensors pick up motions of approaching vehicles when a bus is stopped and will record a video capturing violations. Information will be loaded to a local video recorder that ATS officials will review and electronically forward to the NCSO for further review. ATS then will mail violations and citations to violators.

Penalties generally range from $300 for the first offense to $1,000 for the third offense within a five-year period.

For violators who dispute a ticket, ATS will provide evidence packages that could include prior notices, if applicable, and videos that show the violation, Hoven said.

Additionally, ATS officials remotely test the program each day.

"It's been very well accepted throughout the country, especially Georgia," Hoven said.

ATS is under contract with more than 3,500 governmental systems, and more than 1.2 million violations are processed monthly. The company is headquartered in Arizona with regional offices throughout the nation, including Atlanta.

Systems in Alpharetta, Athens, Clayton County, Gwinnett County and Marietta, among others, currently partner with ATS.

ATS handles all up-front costs like maintenance and camera installation, and there will be no costs to NCSS, Hoven said.

The program is funded through fines for violations, which will be split among ATS, NCSS and NCSO.

During the first year of service, ATS will receive 75 percent of the revenue share, while NCSS and NCSO each will receive 12.5; year two, ATS will get 60 percent with the other two agencies will receive 20 percent each; and from years three through five, ATS will receive 50 percent, while the other two will get 25 percent each, according to the agreement.

For the remaining buses without cameras, the NCSS transportation department continues to train drivers how to handle traffic violations.

"We work on safety all of the time," Barr said. "School buses remain the safest way for students to ride to and from school."

The department conducts annual driver evaluations and training and attempts to create public awareness of the importance of stopping for buses, Barr said.

Comments

amp72 2 years, 4 months ago

$300 fine?????? Crazy. It should be prison time MINIMUM. I guess negligence that could lead to the death of kids is only worth $300. Heck, that won't even pay for the cameras.

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Billy 2 years, 4 months ago

Wish they could sedate all passengers and wake them up at their stops. Parenting skills are at an all time low. If I were a Bus Driver and some kid attacked me, I'd sue his parents. It's their fault to begin with...

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will 2 years, 4 months ago

Billy, now thats the American Way "I'd sue his parents." That is a winner way to think. I bet you would also sue the bus manufacturer since it happened on the bus and dont forget litigation against the company that supplies fuel for the bus and while your making money go ahead and file suit against his Grand Parents because without them his parents would have never been around anyway. You make everyone around you very proud with your brilliant thought process. Please dont sue me for saying this its just an opinion. I think I will file suit against Dell because I read you comment on the monitor they manufactured and I pulled my back laughing at you awsome comment and now I will not be able to work for the next two years, its a serious back injury. Its great to be an American.

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man1930 2 years, 4 months ago

Along with this can you put a FINE on people wo speed in school zones....and parents/care providers dropping off kids on CELL phones. I encourage any citizen to do a 12 minute observation one morning or afternoon see for yourself. Operating a motorized vehicle is serious business. Yet some drivers see it as my TOY ! !

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Megirl 2 years, 4 months ago

There are a few bus drivers that should not be drivers. The kids are horrible and I know it is not the bus drivers responsiblility to get in between the children. However if you know that students certain ones fight constantly and not try to help it then that in my book is not ok. I know a couple of buses in Newton that just turn a blind eye and a couple of kids have gotten seriously hurt and that isn't right. Also what about threats that if a child has a legitament and the bus driver is well a where of the fact, they are supposed to investigate and guess what? They don't as a matter of fact they just don't care not all but some. So BIlly what do the parents have to do with the buses and the drivers doing what they should. Put the cameras on the bus its for everyone's safety unless there is something your hiding?

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Satan69 2 years, 4 months ago

Oh Billy put a sock in it the buses need cameras plain and simple. Stop trying to put all the blame on the parents, you know when they are on the bus it is the bus driver that needs to control the kids. However I will agree fully that there are some bad apples, but when kids are getting hurt and threatend then it is time for camera to be perfectly honest they are long over do. To many things have happened and that's why we have problems. Kids think they can get away with things but that is a kid not a parent issue besides they should know how to behave by now. What a shame I love how people place blame on the parents for everything. When my daughter got beat up on the bus I was told I was being dramatic and to leave the issue alone and that was told to me by a board member that is sad. What can you expect from certain districts the only 1 board member that would help is not my district oh well. Anyway they preach bully this bully that and it happens on the bus day in and day out. So you answer the question Do we need cameras absolutely.

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John 2 years, 4 months ago

Satan69, Reread this article. The cameras are NOT going to be mounted inside the bus to monitor student behavior but rather outside to catch those that are passing a stopped bus when students are boarding or exiting.

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ilivehere 2 years, 4 months ago

A couple of you are totally missing the point. Did you actually read the article? The cameras are not for the inside of the bus to monitor the kids, they are for the outside of the bus to catch violators who don't obey the caution/bus stop signs.

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will 2 years, 4 months ago

Great now billy is going to sue the manufacturer of the camera because he could not see around the camera on the side of the bus and it caused him to hit another object as he was passing the bus in a no-passing zone. Its great to live in the litigation state of Georgia. What word come to thought when you hear somebody say " ILL SUE"

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Wildwomanoftigertown 2 years, 4 months ago

I think that its a good idea to have them on the other hand they need them on the bus too. They apparently need them everywhere cause there are some of the schools don't know how to function hopefully they can get that straight maybe if we start treating some of them like a prison then they will behave. It is a shame that any of this happens but the cameras excellent idea.

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CBSfinder 2 years, 4 months ago

I think that it is a real shame that we need to put cameras like that because people cannot obey simple traffic rules. Dang I guess some people just dont care about our childrens welfare but let one of theirs get hurt their the first to holler. Look unfortunatly for all the people who think your to important to stop for a bus here is a realty check for you your selfish existance has to be put on hold for 2 minutes so those school children can get home safe. Really!!!!! This is so sad that this has to happen. Absolutely a wonderful idea I say go for it.

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Littlemissmuffett 2 years, 4 months ago

I guess people think that mowing kids down and not paying attention to huge red flashing lights is a big deal nowadays well guess what it is. I mean it takes rocket science to figure out that you can't speed around busses really? Since when? So I think the college should start a class called When the red lights flash!!! Maybe that can be like a DUI course for speeding around bus offenders. Thats actually a really good idea.. Who is with me?

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JoanD 2 years, 4 months ago

They need a special pinishment for these people to serve that are multiple offenders of this. It is a growing problem and that's why I say go for it. To many kids getting run over and hit to so what shall we do ? Something to put in front of the board. Possibly? Any ideas?

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Satan69 2 years, 4 months ago

What is funny John is I did read the article and I know exactly what it said, but i thought it would be funny to do that because if you read the poll article there is some nut on there that said a certain race was being talked about in a certain article and I found it quite interesting when that was never said. However, so funny how everyone jumps the gun isn't it.. I think it is a great idea about the cameras wish they would have done it sooner to be perfectly honest. In my own opinion I think the cameras should be everywhere the students are for the plain and simple fact that apparently there is such chaos everywhere.

Back to the bus cameras I agree that drivers should slow the hell down all these speed demons trying to prove a point, their not except how stupid and ignorant they actually are and how they don't care about our children by not obeying the flashing red lights. I don't take lightly to people not taking our kids lives seriously since my great cousin was hit getting off the bus he was only 15 so yes I do agree strongly about this. Go for it!!!!!

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JoanD 2 years, 4 months ago

Im sorry to hear that Satan. We definately need some cameras for many different reasons and it is to bad that it takes things to happen before things get done. Hopefully this will improve some things. I had to laugh about the article thing because your so right about everyone jumping the gun. It is a shame.

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Beautifulblueeyes 2 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree that we really really need these for fights and for cars and for everything else in the book. I say yes put them in. PLEASE for the kids welfare.

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