School District Announces New ‘BusPatrol’ Safety Program | #schoolsaftey

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) wants to protects its students as they board and exit school buses from drivers who recklessly (and illegally) pass stopped school buses.

In that vain, HCPS has announced a five-year partnership with BusPatrol, a stop-arm enforcement technology provider, that will equip all 1,100 HCPS buses with AI-enabled stop-arm cameras that capture the license plates and video of any vehicle that passes a bus that’s stopped in the course of its route.

 The district is the first in the state to outfit all district buses with automated enforcement technology.

Beginning in January, there will be a 30-day warning period before the program officially goes live in Feb. 2024. During the warning period, any motorist who fails to stop for a school bus when its red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended will receive a warning letter about the violation in the mail with no monetary penalty.

Illegal passing seems to happen a lot.

One recent study conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services showed that, on a single day, more than 8,000 Florida school bus drivers reported more than 11,000 illegal passings, equating to more than two-million stop-arm violations each year in the state. This initiative is more about curbing the behavior of drivers than it is about ticketing,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Van Ayres. “We have to make our bus routes safer for our children.”  

The cameras on the outside of school buses are possible thanks to a new law, Senate Bill 766 (Enforcement of School Bus Passing Infractions), sponsored by Senator Danny Burgess that was introduced in the 2023 legislative session and signed into law on May 31. The new law allows school districts to install infraction detections systems on school buses. The system captures video and photographic images documenting when a vehicle violates the law by passing a bus when its stop arm is out. The cameras cannot be used for any other purposes.

“There is no excuse for passing a school bus when it has our children on board, we must do everything we can to keep them safe,” said Florida State Senator Burgess. “I am incredibly proud of the Hillsborough County Public School system, our sheriff Chad Chronister and all those who look out for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens on their way to get a better education.”

In Florida (really, in every state), it is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. Traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus either on a two-lane road or multi-lane road divided by a paved median. On a highway divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five-feet wide, drivers behind the bus must stop while vehicles moving in the opposite direction are asked to use caution but do not have to stop. The violations will be issued by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.   

“This is not about generating fines. It’s a way of changing driver behavior over time and educating people that there are consequences for passing the school buses,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. “In other communities, this program has led to a 30% reduction in violations year-over-year. That means more people are stopping for school buses, and children are safer.”  

Plant City Police Chief James Bradford said this is a great first step towards holding accountable those who put students at risk and deterring others from doing the same. “I think it’s fantastic that the Hillsborough County School Board is taking such a proactive approach to ensure the safety of students by deploying BusPatrol technology,” he said. “They should be commended for being the first in the state to implement this technology on all their buses, and prioritize the safety of their students.”

Find more information about BusPatrol at

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