It's designed to get drivers to obey the laws regarding school buses.
CrossSafe" will begin next Monday, August 27th in Frederick County, just as children are heading back to school. The Sheriff's Office held a demonstration of the program on Tuesday morning at the Law Enforcement Center.
CrossSafe involves mounting cameras on some school buses to record vehicles which fail to stop when the school bus driver has extended the stop arm, and the flashing red lights have been activated. That means that students are getting on or off the bus. Violators will be mailed a $125 citation. Anyone can contest it in court, but a judge has the authority to increase the fine up to $250.
Right now, in order to catch motorists who do not stop when the school bus is taking on or letting off students, the driver must write down any pertinent information about the offending vehicle, and provide it to law enforcement. "It takes the bus driver's attention from driving the bus, and the students on and off of the buses," says Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who spoke to reporters during the demonstration.
He said not all school buses will have these cameras.
The demonstration consisted of a motorist running past a school bus which had its stop arm extended, and red light flashing. It was held in the parking lot of the Law Enforcement Center and on Airport Drive, where the center is located. Another part of the demonstration involved a ten-year-old boy with a backpack showing the correct way of crossing the street after getting off the bus.
Even though he opposes red light cameras and speed cameras, Sheriff Jenkins supports cameras on school buses. "I don't look at this as a revenue generator. I look at this as a safety program," he says. "Any monies generated for the first 4,000 citations goes back to Xerox to pay for their investment. Once we hit a certain number of violations, a portion of the money comes back to Frederick County. That money will be reinvested in the School Crossing Guard program."
Xerox is providing the software and technology for the program, and will process the citations. The Sheriff's Office will review and verify all violations before a citation is issued.
Frederick County is the first Maryland jurisdiction to install enforcement systems on school buses.