ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Howard County Public School buses have been equipped with cameras capable of issuing citations to illegally passing vehicles.
The cameras are installed and maintained by BusPatrol America LLC.
They can capture high definition full colored images of up to 180-degrees and 8 lanes of traffic.
The cameras will start rolling on March 1.
During the initial month, violators will be issued a warning.
Tickets with fines will begin April 1.
The civil penalty for illegally passing a school bus is $250 with no points.
"The most common complaints we receive at the police department are about traffic violations, often in the very residential communities where school buses are picking up and dropping off our children," said Police Chief Lisa Myers. "Passing those buses creates a serious potential danger to all students who are simply trying to travel safely to and from school. External cameras on school buses will send a message to drivers that it is critically important to stop for every school bus, every time."
All fees collected will go back into operating the bus camera program. Any remaining funds will be designated for Howard County public safety projects.
There are approximately 41,000 students who board at more than 10,000 bus stops in Howard County.
The county says bus drivers conducted a one day survey prior to the pandemic, which showed 290 drivers failed to legally stop for a bus that was picking up or dropping off students.