The school bus is watching you

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For untold years, one of the scariest situations school bus drivers could face would to be loading or unloading kids, stop signs and red flashers fully deployed, only to have an impatient motorist go barreling right through the area. (And frankly, this is one of those extremely scary moments for parents, like me, as well.)

Indeed, the Maryland Department of Education conducted a survey in 2011 and tallied up a surprising 7,000 cases where drivers illegally passed school buses during a single day.

Now, to help stop these frightening incidents – as well as help catch such motorists – the school district of Frederick County, MD, teamed up with Xerox as part of a 5-year contract to deploy the CrossSafe system on 40 of its school buses; a system of cameras that monitors children getting on and off of the buses and record drivers who pass illegally.

Frederick County is the first county in Maryland to install enforcement systems on school buses, and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office will review and verify all violations before issuing tickets worth up to $250 though no points get added to the driver’s license.

Xerox believes the general motoring public will be accepting of this technology, by the way, based in no small parts of the results of a national online survey of 2,112 U.S. adults conducted for the company by Harris Interactive. That poll found that 66% of respondents support placing cameras on school buses to help ticket drivers for illegally passing while loading or unloading students, with 77% of respondents agreeing that school bus drivers are too busy focusing on student safety to record information for vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus.

“Without CrossSafe, school bus drivers must record violations manually, which is nearly impossible while trying to simultaneously prevent a student from stepping into the path of an offending driver,” said Mark Talbot, a group president with Xerox focused on the local government market. “CrossSafe allows bus drivers to focus on what matters most, the students’ safety.”

Will this camera system work as planned? We’ll just have to wait and see as the 2012-2013 school year gets started soon. 

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