The Main Stream

Aug 5, 2012 7:00 PM

Photo enforcement available on school buses

TUCSON - Photo enforcement may work its way onto Southern Arizona school buses.

American Traffic Solutions, the same company that operates the red light and speed cameras in Tucson and Pima County, has technology they can mount on school buses.

The cameras would record drivers who illegally run by the stop arm of a school bus while it is loading or unloading kids.

"Parents should be able to rest knowing that their children can make it to and from school safely," ATS spokesman Charles Territo said. "This is just another way and another solution that we can offer to communities."

Many bus drivers, like Allan Harrison, who drive for the Vail Unified School District, see cars pass illegally almost every day.

"It just scares you," Harrison said. "Anything that could help that process out, having the kids be safer, we're all behind it."

The cameras are not legal in Arizona. The state legislature would have to change the law to allow photo enforcement on buses.

ATS started installing cameras in 4 other states earlier this year.

"We'll start to see more and more states and places like Arizona look to this technology as a way to stop school bus stop-arm running," Territo said. "This is a technology that's seeing very wide acceptance."

Some people do not like the idea of private companies installing "big-brother" technology and keeping so much of the money.

"We're commercializing enforcement," Mark Spear said, "and that's where the problem really gets into it."

Many people would like the school bus stop-arm enforcement more than red light and speed cameras.

"I think it'd be more acceptable," Harrison said, "because we're all parents, and it's our children out there, and it's a safety factor."

Usually it is up to school districts to adopt the systems, according to Territo. Law enforcement officers would have to verify violations before sending tickets.

The photo enforcement costs taxpayers nothing, being completely funded by violators, according to Territo.

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