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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 11/30/2011

Should school buses carry traffic cameras?

It’s rush hour. The roads are swamped. You’re running late. When the big yellow bus in front of you stops — for the umpteenth time — and extends its red stop sign so children can board, do you wait patiently behind it? Or do you change lanes and zoom ahead?

In a one-day survey covering a majority of school buses in the state,
drivers reported that about 7,000 people ignored the red stop sign and flashing lights and motored on. That includes 1,645 violations in Montgomery County alone.

Now, as my colleague Victor Zapana reports in today’s newspaper, the county council is considering attaching surveillance cameras to the outside of the county’s 1, 264 school buses so more of these traffic violators will be caught. Frederick County is considering a similar legislation.

Video cameras have become commonly used crime deterrents in schools. Many districts use them to monitor behavior in cafeterias, hallways, and the inside of school buses. No other jurisdiction in the Washington area has put traffic cameras on the outside of buses.

More than 400 children nationwide have been killed by drivers passing a stopped school bus over the past four decades, according to the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University.

The owners would receive a ticket in the mail and a maximum fine of $250. The overall price tag for the video cameras and surveillance is still unclear.

What do you think? Should school buses carry traffic cameras?

By  |  10:37 AM ET, 11/30/2011

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