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School buses to catch motorists illegally passing at stops
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Now that school is back in full swing, Newton County’s roadways are busier with students getting on and off of buses twice a day.

Passing a school bus while students are boarding of disembarking the bus at a stop is illegal in Georgia, and the Newton County School System (NCSS) has reminded local motorists that many district buses are equipped with cameras that record when a vehicle passes a stopped bus illegally.

“The school bus stop photo enforcement program provides us with an efficient way to enforce school bus stop laws and better safeguard the children who ride the bus,” said Cortney Morrison, public information officer of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

Camera records of the violation are sent to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) for the issuance of tickets.
NCSS and the NCSO officially launched the school bus stop photo enforcement program in August 2012, with 25 of the school system’s buses currently outfitted with high-resolution cameras. The cameras, which are supplied and operated by American Traffic Solutions, capture photos and video of motorists who illegally pass school buses while students are boarding or disembarking at bus stops, according to an NCSS press release.

According to Georgia law, the penalty for a violation caught on these cameras is $300 for the first ticket and $750 for a second offense. A third violation within a five-year period rings in a $1,000 fine.

“The partnership between the school system, American Traffic Solutions and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office,” said Michael Barr, NCSS director of support services, “provides us with a way to better protect students as they travel to and from school.”