Fairfax Co. schools inching closer to adding stop-arm cameras to bus fleet

Drivers who illegally pass a school bus in Fairfax County, Virginia, could soon be caught by cameras installed on stop arms – a violation that may lead to a $250 fine.

The new cameras could come as soon as next spring.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on an agreement between the supervisors and county school board regarding a school bus stop-arm camera program.

If approved, according to county documents, the state’s largest school system would contract with American Traffic Solutions, also known as Verra Mobility, to provide cameras for the bus fleet’s stop arms.

The initiative, which has been years in the making, is one of several safety measures Fairfax County Public Schools is working to put in place. Thousands of door locks have been replaced, security vestibules are being built on campuses that don’t have them and the county is working to expand the use of external video cameras, Superintendent Michelle Reid confirmed in April.

Fairfax County also placed cameras near eight schools to address speeding drivers in February.

Initially, according to board documents, the county will add cameras to 50 buses, with a tentative program launch date of spring 2024. Drivers will receive a $250 fine if the bus cameras catch them passing school buses that are in the process of loading or unloading kids at stops.

County police will assign officers to review pictures and/or videos of suspected violations.

Each of the cameras costs $10,900, according to county documents.

The school system will use revenue from the violations to manage the program, a spokeswoman for supervisor Dalia Palchik said. If there’s excess revenue beyond the cost of the program, the school system will decide on where to allocate those funds.

School buses in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland currently have cameras to record illegal passing.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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