Since cameras were installed on 12 of the school system’s buses in mid-October, the number of drivers violating school bus traffic laws have sharply decreased.
In the first two months of the program, 281 citations have been issued, Mark Lindstrom, the school system’s transportation director, told the city’s board of education at a meeting last Tuesday.
In the program’s first week, from Oct.14 to Oct. 20, an average of 16.25 citations were issued each day.
Between Nov. 18 and Nov. 24, an average of 6.8 citations were issued each day, Lindstrom reported.
“We hope to change the way people in Marietta drive around school buses,” he said.
He thinks people have begun to learn the traffic laws and have reacted to the steep tickets arriving in their mailboxes.
Most of the citations are recorded on busier roads, including Roswell Road, Franklin Road, Delk Road and Cobb Parkway, he said.
More violations are recorded in the afternoon than in the morning as well, he said.
Almost 30 percent of citations were issued on Mondays, and their numbers drop off as the week progresses, Lindstrom noted.
“There’s been about a 50 percent reduction. That’s pretty significant in itself,” he said.
Collaboration The camera program is a collaboration between Marietta City Schools, the city and American Traffic Solution Inc., the same company that operates the stop light cameras in Marietta.
According to state law, unless a raised median separates the lanes of traffic, all vehicles traveling in either direction on the road are required to stop when a school bus pulls over and extends its red stop arm.
Until the red stop arm is released, cars must remain stopped.
The first infraction of the law results in a $300 fine, which increases to $750 for the second offense and $1,000 for a third.
Lindstrom said he has seen a sharp decrease in the number of fines collected at the school system’s roughly 3,000 bus stops since October.
Cobb County Public Schools installed hidden school bus cameras in 2012, the number of violations dropped from1,800 in 2011 to 900 in 2012, according to a Feb. 22 MDJ report.
On a test day in January, the MDJ reported there were roughly 400 illegal bus passers.
Lindstrom said he was surprised at how well the camera system seemed to be working.
“Hopefully we will get it down to where we don’t have any violations issued in the city or county,” Lindstrom said.
He hoped Marietta City Schools would serve as a model for small school districts across the state to implement similar bus safety tactics.