GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Another Central Texas school district is putting in additional measures to help keep students safe as they make their way to and from school buses.
The Georgetown City Council approved installing cameras outside the bus to help catch and ticket drivers who pass stopped buses.
It’s a trend spreading across the area and drivers hope the cameras will force people to slow down.
Martha Ybarra has been driving a school bus in Georgetown for 18 years. She says she’s had dozens of close calls where a driver almost hit one of her students.
“My concern is someone hitting one of my kids,” she said. “Having a child killed because people aren’t paying attention just because they’re not taking their time…that scares me.”
The district says stop arm violators are a problem. Over the course of four weeks last fall, bus drivers spotted 431 violators.
American Traffic Solutions will install the cameras on 5 buses by next month.
The council added a civil fine structure that will penalize drivers $300 for the first offense, $600 on a second offense and $900 on third or any subsequent violations. The additional fines for multiple violations would only be applied if they occurred within 36 months of the first offense. After three years without a violation, the fine would reset to $300.
Busguard, another company that manages the cameras, says it is in talks with Austin ISD. The company also installed test cameras on some buses in Leander, Round Rock, and Eanes independent school districts.
Last month, San Marcos started installing cameras on their buses and fining violators $300.
District trustees in Lake Travis ISD also approved the cameras. But like in Georgetown, the city of Lakeway needs to agree to enforce the camera tickets.
The companies will install cameras for free but get a big portion of any possible fines. In Georgetown’s case, the vendor, American Traffic Solutions, will get 60 percent of the fines. Busguard takes about 75 percent.