Despite warnings, some still ticketed for passing buses
by Lindsay Field
August 14, 2012 12:57 AM | 7573 views | 21 21 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Buses deliver students at Dodgen Middle School on Monday<br>Staff/Laura Moon
Buses deliver students at Dodgen Middle School on Monday
Staff/Laura Moon
slideshow
ACWORTH — Numerous public announcements, news stories and warnings emphasizing that it is illegal to drive around a school bus while the stop arm is extended apparently were not enough to keep drivers from breaking the law on the first day Cobb school students returned to class.

Capt. Mark Cheatham with Acworth Police said his department issued two stop arm tickets. But public information officers with Kennesaw, Smyrna, Powder Springs and Austell police said no tickets were issued in their jurisdictions. Marietta Police could not provide data late Monday but Cobb Police wrote one citation to a 17 year-old after classes ended on Monday.

Otherwise, a spokesman with the school district credited its transportation department on getting kids to and from school safely and on time Monday and reported that it was a good first day back at school for the more than 100,000 Cobb Schools students.

“Our whole goal (Monday) was to be so visible so that every kid waiting on the bus at the bus stops saw a policeman,” Cheatham said. “We hit every single neighborhood a couple of times over.”

Acworth Police had about 10 officers patrolling the city limits and area schools. The tickets were issued to one driver in the Lake Park

subdivision off Baker Road and another in the Grove Park subdivision, not far from Lake Park on Grove Drive.

“Lake Park is our largest subdivision in the city, with over 500 homes,” he said. “The streets are very small — all two-lane — and the same thing with Grove Park.”

He did not give any details regarding the citations.

The Cobb School District has equipped 102 of its 1,120 school buses with cameras that take video and still images of drivers violating the stop arm law.

Cobb County commissioners have said they expect to reach an agreement with American Traffic Solutions of Tempe, Ariz., and Cobb Schools today that will allow them to write citations when the violations are viewed on camera.

Violators caught on video will receive a $300 fine in the mail. If a police officer personally witnesses the violation, the criminal penalty is $600 for the first offense and six points are added to one’s drivers license.

When a school bus is stopped to load or unload children, drivers traveling in both directions are required to stop. The only exception to this law is for drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus on a divided highway with four or more lanes separated by a median.

Reviewing the first day of school for Cobb, spokesman Jay Dillon said there was heavy traffic in and out of Nickajack and Kennesaw elementary schools but the problems will be addressed. He added that the last year’s redistricting resulted in two or three students going to the incorrect schools but it was “easily remedied.”

He also said a few schools reported that a handful of parents dropped off unregistered children; that the initial headcounts indicates that enrollment may be up; and that while the school district is concerned about the unfinished construction at McCleskey Middle, the school opened and “looked great” Monday.

“Buses were on time (Monday) morning … so far (Monday) afternoon, no missing or misplaced students. That’s highly unusual for the first day. More kudos to transportation which implemented a new system over the past two years to ensure that all (Kindergarten through third-grade) students get off at the right bus stop,” he said.
Comments
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Ticket away
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August 22, 2012
They shouldn't even need to have a warning. There is nothing new that you aren't supposed to pass a school bus when it puts out the big sign that says STOP!
Cobb bus driver
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August 18, 2012
Being a bus driver for the district, i am very glad they have spent this money on these cameras. In the past i have had very close calls where had I not trained my kids on the bus to watch me they would be seriously hurt! Todays workforce drivers fly to work half asleep on the phone eating breakfast and putting on makeup as they go. The angry old man on here expects the county to be able to place officers near our stops to"catch"them in the act, obviously he is not stupid by his own admission he was around at the end of WWII so he knows there is not enough taskforce to do that given the size of the county we cover. I think he thinks we are all stupid as we look the other way while he continues to run the stop signs himself. The only ones truly opposed to this are the ones that do wrong themselves. The fact that they are shipping this duty to an independent company means the job will be done without prejudice. And for a lot cheaper than hiring a thousand officers to place them around the county to watch people break laws they do because they do not care. I wish they would implement the cameras on the school speed limit signs as well instead of the trailers they place on the side of the road. If you see something like that many slow down, if it is hidden you will see the country get rich!
Just Wait
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August 15, 2012
Police officers are empowered to enforce all traffic laws the day they are sworn in. The problem is that they are so busy going to your house for another false alarm that they don't have time to patrol the streets. Yes, the BOE has a police force, but they work the schools, not patrol the roads. It doesn't help that we have so many Ed Crankshafts driving school buses who don't care about how much traffic they back up while being required to stop at every child's driveway to pick them up. Add to that that so many drivers are in their own private worlds and are oblivious to what is going on around them. Everyone has some fault in this and no one wants to take any responsibility.
anonymous
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August 14, 2012
I wish to state that we have many adults who do not obey the law regarding passing school buses.

Speeding in school zone areas when school is in session and cut thru and do not obey the speed limit.

Also you have school students that trespass on other people property even when signs are posted.

They do not respect your property and do as they please. Will tell you they will go where they please and the property (woods) do not belong to them. We have even had adults from areas near come thru and walk their dogs even.

What can be done for speeders and trespassers in the Walton High School Area. We do want people on our property. We want cars slowed down and not used as a cut thru. We also want signs to slow down drivers. Even out her to ticket those who go over 35 miles per hour and to make children get on and use the sidewalk beside the road and stay off provate property.

They need to learn how to show respect and abide by the laws.

A conserned resident.
Think About It
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August 14, 2012
The video ticket, like the red light cameras carry no points but have a fine. Like the article says, if and officer catches you, it's points and a higher fine. I'm in my mid 50's and this law has been around since I was in school and before I learned to drive.

And to answer Rules Holland: You'd still have to stop according to the law. The only exemption to not stopping if traveling the opposite direction of the bus is if there is a median or divider between the lanes (not a turn lane) such as HWY 92 has between I-75 & I-575 or Wade Green has between I-75 and HWY 92.
Devlin Adams
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August 14, 2012
Do I understand correctly? We are about to turn over the power to ticket and fine our citizens to a profit making entity located in another state?

That is the most repulsive idea I have heard in a long while. It is not about safety for our kids, it is about putting money in somebody's pocket. We have police, the school baord has police. Why are we passing this duty along to a profit making enterprise?

Whoever came up with this lame brained scheme needs to be fired and confined to an institutuon for the mentally incompetent.
Wake up
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August 14, 2012
"About to"? This has been in the works for over a year now. Pay attention to what is going on in the community before whining. If you don't break the law and run around school buses with the possibility of killing kids then don't worry about it. Hey, and for all of you truly uninformed out there World War II is finally over.
Devlin Adams
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August 14, 2012
To Wake up. you are the one who is not keeping up. The cameras have been there for a while, The power to ticket based on those cameras is not a reality until the county Commission votes to invest some entity with that authority. That is what the commission is considering right now. I think that authority needs to stay in cobb County, with the local police,or wihtt he shool baird police. and not with some for profit outfit located in some other state, If we can give that authority to them why not to our own police? At present, in order to issue a ticket, the police have to witness you committing the infraction. If this is really about the safety of our kids, then they need the authority to issue tickets based on the recorded evidence.

By the way, you seriously need an attitude adjustment. Lot of pent up anger there. Particularly when it would appear we are both on the same side, that being the safety of the kids.

BTW, you don't need to tell me that WWII is over, I was around when it started and I remember the day it ended, and this happens to be the 67th anniversary of that day. VJ Day, August 14, 1945
anonymous
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August 15, 2012
We are all for the safety of the kids. I think what Wake Up was being sarcastic about was the anger expressed by you. Yes, "lame brained" and "repulsive" may be words of praise in your world but to most of us they are derisive and mean. Thanks for the history lesson. Most of us assumed that you were just another angry septugenarian anyway.
The Observer
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August 15, 2012
Devlin Adams: I am absolutely appalled that you would call a law that promotes the safety of our children repulsive and lame brained. Just how many times have you broken this law?
Devlin Adams
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August 15, 2012
To anonymous and oberserver. I sincerely hope neither of you is a product of Cbb County Schools.

Yopu both lack the abilioty to read and comprehend. The law itself is a wonderful device by which to afford a little protection to our kids and to punish those who would put them in jeopadry.

What I find objectionable is the fact that we, n Cobb County, cannot enforce the law and must hire a for profit firm out of Tempe, Arizona to do the job. Why? We have a police force. The School District has a police force, If we can empower a private firm to issue tickets, based on camera recorded evidence, then we could also empower out own police to do so. In so, doing the action would be faster and punishement more swift.

Just how much do you think the firm in ARIZONA care about the safety of the kids in Cobb County, GA ? I can tell you. ZERO! The only thing they care about is the $ 300.00.

We do not enact laws to collect fines. We enact laws to control nehavior. I think we are capable of doing that without lining the pockets of some private enterprise.
How about four?
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August 15, 2012
Can we get 4 posts from the angry old man? I bet we can since angry old men must have the last word. Before this company and the methods for fining bad drivers (maybe you or some of your friends) were imposed, there has been nothing but rampant law breaking, (800 ) violations last year alone and no money collected. Now, with the possibility of those fines, the lawbreaking will, hopefully, be reduced and the taxpayers will reap some of the moneys retrieved. Most people would not care how much. Win/win for all of us. The safety of the kids is not your concern AOM, for people like you it's all about the money. Sad but expected.
Darby Allen
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August 16, 2012
Bravo to all speaking out against this stereotype from the 50's. Sure we care about the money, but we care even more about our kids. Anything that will lessen the bad driving habits of people like him and his friends will be good for all of us. No money is being collected now. Anything else will be icing on the cake. We need safer roads. What we do not need is anyone with this level of anger trying to tell us how to make that happen.
Scary thought
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August 14, 2012
Ok...if you have a license then you SHOULD know this answer! Scary people do not know the rules and out there driving. Learn the rules people or pull over before you hurt someone.
UnderstandingEast
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August 14, 2012
I am all for the safety of the students! Is it also possible for the CCSD, parents and drivers to help promote being at the bus stop ready to get on when the buss arrives instead of the student still being inside the house? All the time it takes for students to come out of house and down driveway, combined with hugs goodbye takes extra un-necessary time for everybody else. I see this all the time. We should all be working cooperatively in good spirit! We are all on the roads trying to get to school or work.
ShockedNot
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August 14, 2012
Really- the City of Acworth giving out traffic tickets .... NO! (Joking). They are notorious for being out lurking and waiting where speed limit signs change and in areas where the speed limit is low. Not surprising that they are the first to be on this. 10 officers out patrolling Monday morning? That is some budget.
Joan Boyer
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August 14, 2012
How would you have them enforce the traffic laws if not "hands on" presence at the places where the traffic laws are being continually broken? If you don't want a ticket, don't break the traffic laws--pretty simple.
ShockedNot
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August 14, 2012
I totally agree with you. I want them doing "hands on" service patrolling the streets. It is way better than laying in wait out of site parked on the side street by the post office which doesn't have any parking spaces by the way.

Patrolling by traveling the roads in their vehicles is a great way to deter traffic violations as well as to catch offenders.nce
Rules Holland
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August 14, 2012
What if there are 4 or more lanes opposite direction with no turn lane or median in the middle ? Such as Atlanta Rd ??
Think About It
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August 14, 2012
Yes in that situation you would have to stop. The only exemption if traveling the opposite direction is if there is a median or divider between the opposing lanes of traffic.
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