Maryland school bus safety — still not a passing grade

Since October 2016, hundreds of school buses in Montgomery County have been outfitted with driver’s side cameras to detect motorists who illegally pass a bus that has stopped to pick up or discharge students and to allow authorities to ticket them. Motorists were given advanced warning that — like speed and red-light cameras — the citations were coming. The fine was even raised from $125 per violation to $250 to deter drivers. So how many tickets did the onboard cameras generate in their first two years? Hundreds? Several thousand? More?

The answer as of last week is 56,000. That’s enough to provide one for every single seat in Oriole Park at Camden Yards with enough left over to do the same at Towson University’s SECU Arena — twice. At one time, the county was averaging 13 tickets per bus per month. That meant rarely did a week go by when those school buses were not being passed multiple times while they had their lights flashing and stop signs extended. And roughly half of the county’s bus fleet are not even equipped with the enforcement cameras. Had they been similarly outfitted, the two-year total might be 100,000 or more.