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School Bus cameras is it for the “kids” or is it a bait and switch??????
It came to Ban the Cams attention that Florida Legislature is considering school bus scameras. http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/0250 and http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/269 (House Version). (Any bets the scamera vendors “helped” write this bill??)
The typical argument is that this is to “stop” people from passing a school bus while kids are getting off or on.
Let’s all agree that YOU SHOULD NEVER PASS RIGHT BY A STOP SCHOOL BUS that is loading or unloading kids. IT is dangerous for everyone involved. But when law enforcement becomes about money, what “counts” as a violation can sometimes begin to change.
If you look at the history of RLC, the promise was to “stop” dangerous RLR. You know the people who are well into red who kill someone. (You can see some of these dangerous acts in the videos the RLC vendors release. YOU KNOW THE ONES AT RLC SITES THAT THE RLC FAILED TO STOP! http://www.njassemblyrepublicans.com/?p=2186 ). What isn’t brought up is that many of the RLV wrecks had other themes that a RLC will never stop. Ever see a RLC “stop” a drunk??
But you see there is not enough money in the plus 5 second crowd to make a RLC profitable. That is why the vendors and cities had to game the intersections with short yellows to keep the violations up. But even that is no longer enough, now we have vendors routinely citing for non-dangerous right turns on red, and simply touching the stop line with the wheels! http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/36/3687.asp In some places even moving the trigger line past the stop line! http://www.banthecams.org/1210-tale-of-two-ats-towns-how-scamera-operations-use-different-definitions-of-a-stop-line.html I like to call this changing the “definition” of a violations. Be honest how many cops would really cite you because your front tires touch the stop line. Not many.
Will the scamera vendors game or just simply change the “definition” of a violation on busses to keep the revenue coming in???
There have been reports in the past (undocumented) of allegations of school bus drivers parking on the side of a busy road with the arm “deployed” with NO KIDS in the bus, simply to churn tickets.
In fact a recent article out of Rhode Island has drivers convinced the school bus operators are playing this game. http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2012/02/06/ri_drivers_say_school_bus_camera_system_is_flawed/
Quote: “Some Rhode Island drivers who received traffic tickets based on video taken by school bus cameras say they weren't doing anything wrong and the system is flawed.
Marc Brassard tells WJAR-TV ( http://bit.ly/yQj4xW) that he received a $300 ticket from Providence police for illegally passing a school bus. But he says the stop arm of the bus was deployed when the driver was on break and there were no children aboard.”
Another concern is one of changing the “definition” of a pass.
As mentioned in another post on it http://www.banthecams.org/2044-school-bus-scameras-in-ct.html , Rhode Island's “definition” of a pass can simply be too close to the bus. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/24/2436.asp Quote: "When the machine detects a vehicle moving within 50 feet of the bus a second after the bus driver activates a red flashing light, then the vendor will mail a $300 ticket to that car's owner."
- Does this mean that if you stop too close you get a ticket???
- Successfully pass the bus while yellow but because you are within 50 ft. in front of the bus you get a ticket?????
- Or if you make a turn in front of the bus while stop, do you get one too???
You can notice the potential abuse.
In fact one wonders if the bus will activate the camera and send tickets as the bus is in motion. Say the red lights go on as the bus goes beneath 5 mph (later 10 mph)????
Or what happens to a driver who passes the back of the bus while yellow but stops next to the bus. Is this guy a “violator”???? If you use the above “definition” than yes according to the scamera side.
But of more concern is the fact that what if most of the “violators” could just be drivers going the other direction on a multi-lane highway who honestly believe it was legal to pass???
(In many states you can pass going the opposite direction under certain circumstances. In Florida case http://www.flhsmv.gov/handbooks/EnglishDriverHandbook.pdf
on page 31 section 5.19 (or page 32 of the adobe).
Quote: "If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least 5 feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus. Painted lines of pavement markings are not considered barriers.")
I bring this up for this reason. There was a study done not too far back on the issue. http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/TTI-2008-7.pdf What was interesting was what was buried in page 24 of the report (33 of the adobe).
"More than one half of all violations occurred during the morning routes (54%). Most
stop-arm violations occurred on 4-lane roadways with a center turn lane (14 violations) and 4-lane roadways with a median (10 violations). The majority of passing’s occurred while the
motorist was traveling in the opposite direction (coming toward) the stopped school bus. Vehicle make and model were easily identifiable from the video. The majority of violations were committed by cars (21 violations) followed by light trucks or vans (10 violations).”
I can’t make out how many were going the opposite direction. But the “majority means out of 26 over 13 (Bus 77) (most likely more) were going the other direction typical on road with a median or turn lane.
(Update there was a second bus, bus 86, but was only operational for 7 days per the study, it had 7 violations).
In TX where that study was done the Drivers manual had On page 4-7 (27 of the adobe) of the TX driver license manual http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetForms/Forms/DL-7.pdf
It says: "You need not stop when meeting or passing a school bus which is (1) on a different roadway, or (2) upon a controlled-access highway where the school bus is stopped in a loading zone and pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.”
So the long term question is will the ‘definition’ of a “violation” change to make “violations” more likely???
If you compare the TX and Florida rules it looks different to me.
Think the vendors will play games to churn tickets long term???? After the RLC fiasco, I wouldn’t be surprised.