Cobb County Uses School Bus Cameras to Catch Errant Drivers, Prevent Accidents

School buses in Cobb County now come with video cameras that can capture vital information on motorists who fail to halt when a school bus is at a stop. Atlanta bus accident lawyers believe that it is important to have such measures in order to reduce the risk of accidents, especially now that school has begun.

Many accidents involving school children occur when school buses are at a bus stop. Under the law, drivers are required to halt when a school bus is at a stop. Earlier, when a bus driver found a motorist who violated this rule, he had to write down the tag number, the date and time of the incident and vehicle description and submit this information to authorities. However, a Georgia law that was amended this year allows bus drivers to use video recordings made of the errant motorists. 

Now, a bus driver does not have to give a written statement that contains the tag number and other information. The footage from the video camera can be used to find the errant driver. This makes the job of bus drivers that much easier. The driver does not have to focus on writing down the tag number of the offending vehicle ,which can distract him from his duties. These digital cameras can record the tag numbers and other information of motorists who ignore the law. The initiative is the result of efforts by two people in memory of a five-year-old girl who was killed by a driver who failed to stop at a bus stop.

In Cobb County, school officials have now installed video cameras in 102 school buses. Out of the 1,180 buses in the Cobb County School District, nearly 10% have the camera. It has been an expensive project. Each camera costs about $200, and is part of a network of cameras used to monitor the situation inside the buses too.

Motorists who fail to stop for a school bus at a stop may be fined $300 for a first offense. For a second offense, the fine is as much as $1,000. The school district believes that the fines recovered as a result of violations will be able to pay for the operation of the system.

Cobb County school authorities believe that about 1,000 such violations happen every day. That's a large number of violations, and place pedestrian school children at risk of accidents at a bus stop. Many school bus accidents that occur in Georgia every year involve children who have just alighted from a bus, and are coming around the back of the bus to cross the road. A motorist, who fails to stop, is not likely to see a small child walking right into his path.

The digital video camera systems on buses could be expanded to other counties too. Such systems are already in place in Fayette County. In Fulton County, school officials are considering the use of digital camera systems to encourage compliance. 

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