Habersham BOE explores stop-arm cameras for all buses

Of the 110 buses in the Habersham County School System fleet, 10 are equipped with stop-arm cameras, and only seven are operational. The board of education is now considering ending their current stop-arm camera contract with Gatekeeper Systems in favor of a contract with BusPatrol to provide high-quality AI stop-arm cameras to all Habersham county school buses.

According to Habersham County Schools Transporation Coordinator Stephanie Walker, there are nearly 17 million stop-arm violations in America each school year. “Stop arm violations are very serious,” Walker says. “It’s one of our number one safety issues.”

Stop-arm cameras catch violations in which drivers pass a stopped school bus while children are boarding or departing. While the school system continues to maintain a good relationship with Gatekeeper, they are interested in the new technology and maintenance BusPatrol could offer. The camera system by BusPatrol can cover up to eight lanes of traffic and can take a photo of the vehicle, driver and license plate, as well as a video of the offense. BusPatrol would also provide cameras to all 110 buses, rather than just 10.

The Bus Patrol AI generates tickets, which are checked for accuracy by their staff, and then sent to local law enforcement for final approval and issuing. Violations could cost up to $250 each offense.

BusPatrol would also provide new high-quality, live interior cameras and live GPS tracking in Habersham county school buses. Along with these, the school system would be eligible to add on more safety features, such as a card system that would help bus drivers and school staff track when students board or depart the bus and what bus they get on or off.

BusPatrol will cover 100 percent of all expenses related to the stop-arm cameras, interior cameras, tracking and additional safety features. “Habersham County Schools will never pay BusPatrol a penny during our contract term,” Walker says.

The Habersham County Board of Education will vote on ending their Gatekeeper Systems contract and adopting BusPatrol at a later meeting.

This article has been updated as of June 17 to better reflect Habersham schools’ relationship with Gatekeeper Systems.

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