The Chattooga County, Georgia School System has partnered with Gatekeeper Systems, Inc., to install cameras on the sides of school buses to prosecute any motorists who illegally pass buses with stop equipment activated.
Transportation Supervisor Mike Jarrett said bus drivers have seen increased problems with motorists passing school buses that have stopped to let children out especially in wide, four lane roads and near Berryton Bridge. Jarrett implied that the public may not be aware that they have to stop in every lane of traffic when the stop equipment is activated – adding that in one week, on one bus actively monitored, a total of 41 citations were issued. He said side cameras will soon be installed on all county school buses with that footage being monitored by transportation officials several times each week to check for violations.
The video will be forwarded to the sheriff’s office – where the footage will then be reviewed and the offender prosecuted. Jarrett stated that those infrared cameras work just as well at night as in the daytime.
Superintendent Jimmy Lenderman noted that everything was FREE of charge for the school system, with Gatekeeper, Inc. underwriting the full cost. Revenue from those fines will then be split between the company, the sheriff’s office and the board of education.
Lenderman made it clear that it’s not about the money; it was an efficient deal to make with Gatekeeper to the cameras installed essentially free.
Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader said that his office will cite the registered owner of the vehicles passing the bus. What this means is that the person breaking the law might not be the person who is cited and fined if they’re not the owner of the vehicle that the passing occurred in. Schrader says people who lend their cars to let friends or family members pick up children should be fully aware of the consequences if the driver fails to act responsibly.
(AM1180 Chattooga County Radio)