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Perth County council taps breaks on school bus stop arm cameras

While installing automated school bus stop arm cameras to capture vehicles blowing by school buses could benefit road safety, a lack of information is leading Perth County council to pause on implementing the system.
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(Stock photo)

After getting the go ahead from the province, the County of Perth is tapping the brakes on a new camera system for school buses.

Perth County council has looked into installing automated school bus stop arm cameras to capture vehicles that illegally pass buses when the arm is extended. Their research comes after the provincial government passed legislation in 2020 allowing municipalities to install cameras. 

Annette Diamond, Director of Legal/Corporate Services, presented a report at the county’s Thurs. Aug. 4 meeting. Camera enforcement, according to the report, has the potential to improve road safety, however, in the next few years municipalities have been allowed to implement these cameras, not many have. Camera programs have high administrative and adjudication costs – as well as extensive processing burdens on the court. 

With a lack of information out there, the county contacted KPMG LLP to assist in analyzing the cost/benefit. They would research the county’s current ICON and CAMS systems to process penalties and how to implement an Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP).

Ultimately the report suggests that retaining their services would not be in the county’s best interest. In a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation, they indicated that the Local Authority Services (LAS) is putting together a ‘turn-key’ service to assist municipalities since there is so much interest. Having KPMG conduct their research would set the County back $50,000. 

Council received the report, which indicated that more information would be available in the upcoming AMO conference in August and in the Fall. Staff are awaiting this information before moving forward on these decisions.

Coun. Robert Wilhelm agreed that it was a good idea to wait for information, though indicated that work should continue.

“I would agree that it makes sense to wait,” he told Diamond. “I would, however, like to see pressure continuing to be put on them so that it doesn’t fall by the wayside.”

Diamond reassured that there is a vast interest across the province so it will not be forgotten.

Failure to stop for a bus with the arm extended and lights flashing can result in the driver being fined from $400 to $2,000 and accrue six demerit points. Additional offences could result in jail time.