Motorists in Stratford are increasingly getting ticketed for illegally passing school buses since a new program launched last October designed to deter such action.
From November 2012 through January 2013, Stratford police issued 46 illegal passing citations, compared to just five during the 10-month span January 2012 through October 2012, police tell the Stratford Star.
Stratford entered into a contract with SmartBus during a Town Council meeting in October after a company representative outlined the program to town officials.
SmartBus pays for the installation of the cameras (three per bus), and monitors the video live, explained Alfred Cardi. The program comes at no cost to the town, save for the time it takes police officers to review video complaints on SmartBus's website before issuing a citation, if they feel one is warranted.
Violators are slapped with a $465 fine (set by Connecticut state statutes, according to a school official), with $125 going to the town, Cardi said.
"We're trying to change the behavior [of offending motorists] by creating a deterrent," he said. "This is not about traffic, this is about keeping kids safe."
The program started as a pilot and is now operating on five public school buses in the district, according to the Star. At the October meeting, Cardi said the buses already outfitted with the equipment were averaging at least one violation per day.
Twenty to 50 percent of the district's buses could be rigged, depending on what studies and analysis reveal about traffic patterns, the SmartBus representative said.