AUSTIN -- Those who pass a stopped Austin ISD bus with its crossing arm extended will be issued a ticket starting Monday.
Austin ISD said students' safety is paramount and believes the new stop arm safety cameras will make a difference. Video from bus cameras show many drivers don't slow down, and some even speed up when passing stopped buses.
"Some of these are just blatant passes of the bus," said Austin ISD Police Chief Eric Mendez. "It's only a matter of time before a student is struck and we don't want that to happen."
Mendez said in the 30 days since AISD began monitoring its new cameras, they have seen 330 violations. Beginning Feb. 8, drivers caught on camera passing a bus loading or unloading kids will get a $300 ticket in the mail.
"We have about 100 buses that are equipped with cameras and eventually by end of March we're going to have it on all of our regular route buses which is a total of 300," said AISD Transportation Director Kris Hafezizadeh.
Another function of the stop arm cameras is that it will tell the district where the most violations are occurring. Mendez said quite a few of the 330 violations during the monitoring period were along Montopolis Drive.
"Our officers will now sit at those hot spots and look for the violators so you're not going to receive a citation in the mail, you're going to have a face to face visit with one of our officers," Mendez said.
The cameras come at no cost to the district. American Traffic Systems installed and will maintain the cameras for a share of the revenue.
"Sixty percent goes to them, 40 percent to the district," Hafezizadeh said.
The bus cameras not only get a shot of your front and back license plates, it also provides a GPS map of exactly where the violation occurred.
The district has hired an administrative appeals judge so anyone who get one of the tickets and wants to fight it can do so.