School bus in the snow

City councils and state legislatures across the country are debating and passing initiatives to put traffic cameras on school buses. Rick Gresham, transportation director for the Cobb County school district in Georgia, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that 1,100 motorists pass his school buses when the stop sign paddle is out every single day. The state of Maryland reported 7,200 such incidents in one day last year. For all the folks who want to see that bus-riding children get to class and home safely, that's a problem. So cities in places like Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington and Louisiana are talking to Redflex and American Traffic Solutions about mounting cameras on their buses' folding stop signs.

In the case of the potential Redflex system in Connecticut, for instance, the school districts would pay a set fee for each bus fitted with a camera. The cameras send a live feed of traffic in both directions to Redflex, where Redflex employees review it. If a motorist is caught violating the stop sign, an image and relevant information is sent to the police department. The school district would receive 82 percent of the ticket amount, the rest going to police and court costs.

A Harris study conducted on behalf of ACS, a Xerox company, found that 77 percent of adults polled supported installation of these cameras on school buses. ACS makes its own system called CrossSafe, so it's certainly interested in a particular result, but as others have said, it's hard to argue against child safety, so this may be the first application of traffic cameras we can really get behind.