The automated systems will help to enforce existing laws designed to protect children while loading or unloading from school buses.
Pam Allen, court administrator, said the program will start on buses with the highest safety concerns.
“I believe the school will recommend 20 buses,” Allen said.
The city will have three days to review camera footage that indicates there was a violation, according to a presentation by staff at the City Council meeting May 29.
The vehicle owner will have the right to contest the charge or transfer liability if a different person was driving, Allen said.
Councilman Andy Morris said there have been concerns from residents about red-light camera footage. For instance: Who gets to be in charge of deciding whether a violation actually occurred in cases where the video footage is inconclusive?
Morris was the only opposing vote when the judicial/legislative committee decided to send the proposal on to the full council.
If approved, the program will begin by Aug. 1.
The school district and the city will partner to implement the program by using software provided by American Traffic Solution Inc.
ATS now operates the red-light cameras that catch drivers running stop lights in Marietta and will also install the school bus cameras for the new safety plan.
Allen said the fine amounts are set by state law.
A first infraction will result in a $300 fine, with $750 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said he feels confident in the vendor and that officers will be well trained to review the violations.
“(The photos) are timed in such a way to make a clear and convincing case that someone passed while a school bus was stopped,” Tumlin said.
There will be no upfront fees or costs paid to the vendor, Allen said.
She added the cost to ATS will be based on the number of violations, with 75 percent of the collected payments given to ATS the first year, 60 percent the second year and 50 percent for years three to five.
That means for every 100 citations issued during the first year, ATS would receive $22,500.
After ATS’s revenue is subtracted, the city will keep 60 percent of the remaining money and give the rest to Marietta City Schools.
Tumlin said the city’s portion of the revenue is not earmarked for anything specific and will go to the general fund.
Number of violators
Allen said Marietta City Schools did a pilot program on two buses to get a handle on the amount of violations.
From Aug. 15 to Sept. 14, there were 3.02 violations each day per bus, with almost 60 percent of the infractions happening between 2 and 4 p.m., according to the CrossingGuard Pilot Summary Report.
A majority of council members said it is the hope that public knowledge of the cameras will decrease the number of violators.
After Cobb County started using hidden cameras on school buses, there was a cut from 1,800 violators per day in 2011 to 900 in 2012, according to a Feb. 22 MDJ report.
The article stated there were 400 illegal passers in a one-day test in January.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said Cobb County is very happy with its coordinated efforts between the school board and government.
Marietta school board Chairman Randy Weiner said he is still waiting for a proposal to be presented to the school board by the city.
Weiner said he supports efforts to increase student safety, especially to deter speeding past a stop arm.
“The idea is a good idea,” Weiner said.