8/27/2019Kentucky Lawmakers Would Force Schools To Use Bus Cameras
Three Kentucky lawmakers would make school bus cameras mandatory for local school districts.
Legislation proposed for the Kentucky General Assembly's 2020 session would make it mandatory for every school bus in the state to be used as a platform for issuing automated traffic tickets. The idea, championed by state Representatives Robert Goforth (R-East Bernstadt), Joe Graviss (D-Woodford) and Jim Stewart III (R-Knox), would force every local school district to install stop arm cameras on every daily route school bus by August 1, 2023.
"This bill protects Kentucky's children and holds reckless drivers accountable for their actions -- I think it is something that all Kentuckians can get behind," Goforth said in explaining his bill.
Under Kentucky law, motorists on the opposite side of the road from a stopped school bus do not need to stop on four-lane roads, but they do need to stop on a two-lane road separated by a center turn lane. A private, for-profit company would hold vehicle owners accountable by mailing citations for between $200 to $500 whenever a car is photographed getting the distinction wrong.
Several of the companies that operate school bus cameras have been rocked by scandal. The top US-based executives of Redflex Traffic Systems were imprisoned in a photo ticketing corruption scandal in Chicago, Illinois, and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. The executive vice president of Redflex admitted the corruption was not limited to those three cities, and instead included just about everywhere the company operated. In Dallas, Texas, a $185 million school bus camera bribery scheme was among the largest public corruption scandals uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The founder of the school bus camera company Force Multiplier Solutions was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role, while the city politician who introduced pro-camera resolutions in return for cash will spend about four-and-a-half years behind bars. Last month, the inspector general for Montgomery County, Maryland, raised the alarm about the school bus camera deal currently in force with BusPatrol (view report).
"It appears to be structured much like the Dallas County School District program which ultimately led to the bankruptcy of the school district," the inspector general wrote. "Much like the situation in Dallas County, Montgomery County appears to potentially bear the financial burden of vendor failure."
Goforth's legislation makes signing a contract with a third-party camera company mandatory.
The Maryland inspector general report also confirmed that school bus cameras did nothing to reduce accidents involving school children in the county. As national statistics show, such accidents are exceedingly rare.
A copy of the proposed bill is available in a 70k PDF file at the source link below.