City of Bridgeport, CT

02/15/2024 | Press release | Archived content

The City of Bridgeport Records Nearly 10,000 Drivers Who Illegally Passed a School Bus Over a Six-Month Period

The City of Bridgeport Records Nearly 10,000 Drivers Who Illegally Passed a School Bus Over a Six-Month Period

February 15, 2024

Bridgeport, CT - The City of Bridgeport today announced that nearly 10,000 motorists illegally passed a stopped school bus during the first six months of the school year. The shocking number of violations were captured through the City's school bus camera safety program, demonstrating the ongoing public safety threat facing students on their journey to and from the classroom.

"The safety of our children is a top priority of mine," stated Mayor Ganim. "It is unacceptable that there are motorists who are blatantly putting our children in danger by illegally passing stopped school buses. We will take the necessary steps to crack down on these violations to ensure that our children are not being threatened by the carelessness of drivers while school buses are making their pickup and drop-off routes."

In Connecticut, the Stop Arm Law prohibits a vehicle from overtaking or passing a stopped school bus that is displaying its flashing red signal lights, and drivers must stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus.

From September 3, 2023, to February 3, 2024, 74 school buses equipped with stop-arm cameras recorded 9,860 vehicles that illegally passed school buses stopped to pick up or drop off children. This is equal to 2.2 violations per bus per day, or 75 violations per weekday.

According to the data, the bus stop with the highest number of violations was the 100 block of Logan Street with 1,671 violations, nearly triple the next highest violation hotspot at the 100 block of Davenport Street with 566 violations. Nearly one in five stop-arm violations occurred at either of these two locations.

In August 2022, the city enacted a school bus camera safety program to detect drivers that fail to stop at school bus stop signs and assist local police with enforcing the state's stop arm law. The city installed cameras and sensors with AI technology on the outside of all Bridgeport school buses to detect drivers and record their license plate information when they unlawfully pass a stopped school bus. The recorded information is reviewed by the Bridgeport Police Department, using their discretion to approve or disapprove a stop-arm violation.

However, a technicality in the state law currently prevents the city from implementing this safety program to better enforce the state law.

The City of Bridgeport is making these data publicly available as it seeks to entice state lawmakers to pass legislation that provides for the ability to impose monetary liability and collections at the municipal level. In doing so, this would empower the city, along with other local jurisdictions, to leverage automated enforcement technology to vastly improve the ability for the Bridgeport Police Department to capture stop-arm violations where they occur, deter violators, and change driver behavior.

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services estimates that school buses in the United States are illegally passed 43.5 million times each year.

Federal agencies have also called for the widespread adoption of automated school bus safety technology. This includes the National Transportation Safety Board, which called on states to combat the prevalence of stop arm violations by enacting laws enabling local jurisdictions to install automated enforcement cameras on stop-arms and to issue citations to violators caught on camera.

Department: Communications
Type: Press Release
Category: Announcements, Public Safety, Traffic and Roads

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