Hundreds of drivers are whizzing by area school buses despite their flashing red lights and stop sign, a new study reveals.
At least 1,500 citations have been issued by bus stop-arm cameras since they were introduced in the region in 2013, AAA says.
Bill Jacobs said he sees violators all the time when he walks his daughters to school.
"You know that when a school bus has their lights on, you really shouldn't be driving by them. It's as simple as that," Jacobs said.
Over 1,000 tickets have been issued in Montgomery County; the county also has the highest number of stop-arm cameras. Those violations add up to over $129,000 in fines.
“The fact that so many people passed over 25 buses is quite alarming and it is a wake-up call that this issue is more problematic than we thought," said Captain Tom Didone, Montgomery County Police Department.
In Prince George's County, only 10 drivers were caught passing illegally, but few buses in the county are equipped with cameras. Only 20 were equipped with cameras at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
Washington County buses busted 170 drivers over one year with its 10 school bus cameras, and in Frederick County, 18 citations were issued in the first two years of its stop-arm camera program.
In Virginia, stop-arm cameras in Falls Church have issued 201 tickets in their first six months of operation, netting the city $40,200 in fines. Falls Church is the first jurisdiction in Virginia to install the cameras.
“To safeguard the lives and limbs of local pupils, area drivers must get in the habit of coming to a complete stop when the stop arm on a school bus is extended and the light are flashing,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
Maryland legislators have proposed a bill that would increase fines to $500 to help crackdown on the alarming number of offenders.
Parents are on board with the camera fines.
"If you see a school bus, you see the lights, don't pass them. That's it," Jacobs added.