Cameras are keeping watch for motorists who pass stopped school buses in Maryland's Montgomery County under a new law enforcement program launched Thursday.
County police say over winter break several buses were equipped with cameras that record vehicles passing stopped buses with activated flashing red lights. The department will review violations and citations with $125 fines will be mailed to the registered owner.
Maryland law requires motorists traveling in the same direction as a stopped school bus with activated flashing red lights to stop. Motorists traveling in the opposite direction must stop unless there is a barrier, such as a median.
MyFoxDC.com reported that Montgomery County Public Schools is spending $250,000 to outfit buses with 25 cameras. At least 75 buses will be equipped to carry the cameras.
"We have cameras to catch people doing 5 miles over the limit," Montgomery County resident Alan Zimberg told the station. "This is a lot worse than that. This is putting children at risk"
The program will target routes with the highest reports of violations, with cameras shifting from bus to bus. According to records obtained by WRC-TV, some 7,000 drivers passed school buses in one day last year.
"We don't want to try to fool people but we do want people to assume there may be a camera on any bus, so if they see a bus with flashing red lights, they should stop," Montgomery County Public Schools Transportation Director Todd Watkins told the station.
Authorities have been operating a similar program in Falls Church, Va., since October and Prince George's County has also awarded a contract for its own school bus camera program, WRC-TV reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.