UniteGPS – Sacramento City Unified School District is the latest community to take meaningful measures against the propensity of vehicles passing buses while students board or disembark. Motivated by legislation in Indiana and Minnesota, the California district launched a stop-arm camera pilot from November 2021 to February 2022 in collaboration with BusPatrol to better gauge the problem.

“Sacramento City Unified School District is committed to ensuring student safety both at school and on the journey there and back,” said Christina Pritchett, president of the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education, in a recent press release over Global Newswire. 

Stop-arm camera pilot in Sacramento

In partnership with BusPatrol, the Sacramento City Unified School District installed cameras on five buses to record the frequency of vehicles ignoring the stop-arm on buses. From Nov. 14, 2021, to Feb. 25, 2022, these cameras recorded 387 incidents where motorists passed a school bus while students were boarding or disembarking. In total, every bus within the study saw 1.3 stop-arm violations per day.

“This pilot program only captured a fraction of the problem and shows that more needs to be done,” added Pritchett in her response. “People need to learn that stop means stop.”

The CEO and founder at BusPatrol Jean Souliere relates to Pritchett by saying, ‘the results are, shockingly, consistently high,” in the press release. In his opinion, technology is part of the solution to stopping Sacramento drivers from continuing to ignore stop-arm signs on school buses.

“Local parents, bus drivers, and concerned citizens are looking to address the problem with technology. Automated enforcement technology like stop-arm cameras can help change driver behavior and effectively reduce the rate of violations in a community.”

If the stop arm is extended and red lights flash, it is against the law to pass a stationary school bus in California. Unlike the legislation in Indiana allowing for automatic citations, though, California state law doesn’t allow cameras installed on vehicles to charge motorists.