Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) in Georgia is introducing an automated stop-arm enforcement program using Redflex Student Guardian®, a safety camera system that monitors and detects drivers who illegally pass school buses.
GCPS plans to initiate the program with the installation of 100 school buses by Labor Day. It expects to outfit up to 40 percent of its school bus fleet later in the school year.
Located in the Atlanta metro area, GCPS is the largest school district in Georgia and the 12th largest nationwide. With 1,900 school buses, it has one of the largest school bus fleets in the country, transporting more than 126,000 students twice a day. It’s the second largest student transporter in the nation after New York City.
The Student Guardian safety camera system consists of a single enclosure installed approximately six feet behind the stop-arm, monitoring traffic in both directions. The system is activated when the bus’ stop arm and amber lights are displayed, and children are entering or exiting the bus. Since the technology is automated, the bus driver is free to focus on students. Evidence of potential violations, including video and photos, is submitted to local law enforcement to determine whether a citation is warranted.
Student Guardian has been developed by Redflex Traffic Systems®, Inc. GCPS has an agreement with Redflex to operate Student Guardian without any upfront costs to the district, city or state. The program is fully funded by violations.
According to a 2012 study by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, bus drivers on about 100,000 buses in 28 states reported more than 88,000 illegal passes in one day, representing more than 16 million illegal passes throughout the school year.
The use of automated stop-arm enforcement to combat illegal passing is currently permitted in eight states. Additional legislatures are considering the issue.