Anne Arundel County established a charter form of government in 1964.
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School buses are one of the common ways children get to school. While school buses are a safe mode of transportation, children are especially vulnerable as they get on and off the school bus. In Maryland, school bus safety laws exist to help drivers safely navigate the roads where children might be crossing for a school bus.
With the second half of the school year in full swing, it is a good time to refresh our drivers on when they are required to stop for a school bus. As we announced earlier this year, all of our school buses are equipped with Bus Cameras. There was a grace period at the beginning of the year, but now citations are being issued. You can read below to see what to do if you get a Bus Camera ticket.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools has launched a school bus safety program in partnership with Anne Arundel County Police Department in line with MD Transportation Code Section 21-706. The program went into effect on October 1, 2022, following a 30-day warning period.
Most school buses in the school district are now equipped with safety technology – cameras designed to detect vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses. This safety initiative seeks to curb dangerous motorist behavior around school buses and make the journey to and from school safer for all student riders.
Every day, an estimated 600,000 children are transported by school buses throughout Maryland.* In 2019, school bus drivers across the state participated in the NASDPTS illegal passing survey. During the one-day survey, 9,187 bus drivers reported more than 6,388 illegal passings. This is equal to more than 1 million violations that endanger children each school year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2009 to 2018, 249 children were killed in school transportation-related crashes. Of those children, 52 were on school buses, 92 were in other vehicles, 100 were pedestrians, and four were cyclists. More school-age pedestrians were killed during school opening and closing hours (6 – 8 am and 3 – 4 pm) than any other hour of the day.
*School Bus Fleet Fact Book 2020
Almost all school buses that transport Anne Arundel County Public Schools students are equipped with safety technology, including illegal passing enforcement cameras. Cameras on the side of school buses help capture violation events and vehicle license plate information.
Law enforcement officers will review camera footage of violations and issue citations to a vehicle’s registered owner. If someone other than the vehicle’s owner was driving at the time, the owner can request a transfer of liability.
The fine for illegally passing a stopped school bus is $250 in Maryland, as in most other states. If a school bus camera captures the evidence, it is a civil violation that carries no points against a motorist’s driving record. If witnessed by a police officer, the citation is $570 with three points on the driver’s license.
Data from other safety programs demonstrates that 98 percent of first-time offenders do not receive a second ticket and that 95 percent of drivers do not contest their ticket after seeing video evidence of their violation.
When a vehicle illegally passes a school bus with its red lights flashing, a multi-lens camera box on the side of the bus captures the violation and the car’s license plate from different depths and angles. The footage, GPS, and timecode data are stored locally on an onboard digital video recorder (DVR) unique to each bus.
The data relating to the incident and violation is sent via an encrypted LTE network to a secure cloud system, where it is filtered by artificial intelligence (AI) software before being reviewed by a trained safety specialist.
If the specialist determines the violation is an offense, the specialist prepares an evidence package for law enforcement. The package is built in accordance with Maryland State law, complete with video footage, still images, license plate number, make, model, driver information, GPS location, and a timestamp of the incident.
The evidence package is then sent to law enforcement partners via a secure cloud portal. Law enforcement officers review the evidence package to approve and issue a citation. If approved, a citation is mailed to the vehicle’s owner, who is legally responsible for the violation per Maryland law. The citation is issued along with a link to the AlertBus Driver Education & Payment Portal, where the vehicle owner can view video evidence of their violation. The vehicle owner makes their payment online, through the mail, or over the phone. Citations can also be contested through the District Court of Maryland.
When a school vehicle stops and flashes its red lights, traffic meeting, or approaching must stop at least 20 feet from the rear or front of the school vehicle.
On two-lane and multi-lane roadways:
On multi-lane roadways divided by a median:
When following or approaching a school bus, be prepared to stop.
School Bus Safety Tips
Additional school bus safety tips for motorists:
It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus with its flashing red lights activated.
Safety Tips for Students:
The following information is provided for assistance.
To speak to a representative about a violation, contact the AlertBus Customer Contact Center toll-free support line at 1-877-504-7080.
To view the violation video evidence online or to pay a violation by credit card, visit www.alertbus.com and enter the following information: Your citation number (example: MD-777777, including the dash), and vehicle license plate information (no dashes or spaces), as listed on your citation.
Contact the Anne Arundel County District Court for information on trial dates or case status.
As the most centrally-located county in Maryland and site of the state capital of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County is in many ways the heart of Maryland. Half a million people call the county home.
Anne Arundel County established a charter form of government in 1964.