Drivers beware: school buses are watching you

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD showed off new technology Friday that catches drivers who blow past stopped school buses.

Thirty of the district’s 500 yellow buses are equipped with camera technology which capture license plate information and record video of drivers who don’t stop for a bus with its red lights flashing.

Video from a test program shows up to six cars driving past a bus with its stop arm extended; a violation of state law.

The district says the cameras, part of a pilot program, have captured an average of 60 violations per day where drivers illegally passing school buses.

Three vendors are working with the district to test the technology which works in a similar manner to the cameras that capture red light runners.

Austin ISD will be extending the pilot program into the fall and then decide if they want to ask the Austin city council to pass an ordinance allowed a camera company to mail drivers tickets. The district does not know how much a ticket would be, but if an Austin police officer sees a driver ignore the flashing lights the ticket is $626.

Other Central Texas district with the program in place and a city ordinance fine drivers about $300 on the first offense. A second offense costs drivers $600 and a third time is $900.

If the program becomes permanent in Austin, the school district and camera company would each get a cut of the ticket profits.

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