Charles County, MD… The Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) are launching a new school bus safety program this week, in partnership with a safety technology company, BusPatrol. The program will place 375 cameras on school buses to deter drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses. ‘
“Keeping our school children safe, especially as they enter or exit the bus is a priority. It is the law for motorists to stop for school buses when the flashing red lights are on. Sadly, we have encountered drivers either who ignore the law or who are not paying attention. Either way, this program will raise awareness of the requirements of the law when it comes to school bus stops and ultimately improve the safety of students,” said Sheriff Berry.
The BusPatrol program will launch on Thursday, November 18, and will start with a 60-day warning period. Motorists that violate school bus stopping laws will receive a warning letter in the mail, reminding them of the importance of school bus safety. Citations will be issued starting Monday, January 17, 2022. Much like the red light camera program and speed enforcement cameras in school zones, all violations in Charles County will be reviewed by an employee with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and issued through the BusPatrol program. The county civil citation from violations verified through the bus camera program will be $250 to the registered owner(s) of the vehicle, but does not assess points. The technology, installation, and maintenance of the cameras are provided at zero cost through BusPatrol’s violator-funded model. As part of the partnership, all 375 school buses in the county will be equipped with technology to make the journey to and from school safer for students.
In addition to this new initiative, it is important to know that Maryland law requires a driver of a motor vehicle must stop for a school vehicle (school bus) that is stopped and operating flashing red lights and remain stopped until the school vehicle resumes motion or deactivates the flashing lights. If a driver violates this law, and it is cited by a police officer, the penalty is a $570 fine and 3 points.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the safety and well-being of schoolchildren who travel on our roadways in buses. These programs are working to improve school bus safety through education and enforcement.