Frederick County school buses equipped with stop sign cams

School buses in Frederick County are now equipped with cameras to snap photos of drivers who ignore stop signs. Violators will be fined $125. (WTOP/Adam Tuss)

Adam Tuss,

FREDERICK, Md. – School buses in Frederick County now have electronic eyes, watching drivers who blow past extended school bus stop signs.

County leaders showed off new school bus cameras on Tuesday, which will automatically send $125 fines to drivers who don’t obey the law.

“I don’t look at this as a revenue generator. I look at this as a safety program,” County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says.

He favors the program because it’s impossible to have an officer following each of the county’s approximately 450 school buses.

“There are a fair number of violations that are witnessed by the bus drivers that, really, we can’t do much more than send a warning letter,” Jenkins says.

Until now.

When school starts in the county Monday, the cameras turn on. They can see both frontward and backward, take pictures and roll video.

Pictures of violations will go through a review process and be sent to the violator within two weeks, according to Frederick County Police.

Xerox, which is providing the equipment and partnering with the county to set up the program, will get the full amount of the $125 violations until 4,000 citations are issued. After that, the fines are split between Xerox and the county, and the county will use its share for school safety programs.

The Montgomery County Public School system is working together with the Montgomery County Police Department to iron out the details of a similar bus camera program.

“The police department is being careful to set up the contract with the vendor with great care as we anticipate this being a long-term partnership,” Todd Watkins, director of transportation for Montgomery County Public Schools, tells WTOP.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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