Big Brother is bussing you: Xerox installs traffic cameras on Md school busses

There’s been a bit of… discussion… surrounding the use of red light cameras in Rochester. Do they actually discourage running red lights? Well, revenues from the cameras have been reported higher than expected, so perhaps not. But do they contribute to a general culture of better safety? Other reports say yes, they do.

But now it appears that Xerox Corporation has made a move in Maryland to widen the debate still further: do traffic cameras on busses stop people from blowing past them while kids are getting on the bus? The Frederick County, Md school district will be installing cameras, networking and software created by Xerox to monitor kids as they get on and off the bus, while at the same time, checking for drivers who illegally pass the bus while stopped. Xerox characterizes the need for its CrossSafe™ software with the following quote:

“Xerox understands our sense of urgency to address this very serious concern to student safety,” said Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. “Violators will now face serious penalties and be held accountable for their disregard for the safety of children traveling on buses. CrossSafe™ is a turnkey solution that will help make bus routes safer and ease the minds of parents.”

“Urgency” is an interesting word. A quick Google News search turned up absolutely no mentions in local Maryland news of this program. Thumbing through the school’s news archives – as far back as mid-terms last year – turns up no discussion of this program. I can’t even find any reports of accidents in the area involving school busses.

Where is the urgency?

To be clear: blowing past a stopped school bus while they’re picking up school children is dumb, dumb, dumb. And potentially fatal. But potential is a shitty benchmark for public policy, especially policy that continues to contribute to our Nanny State culture where you’re not allowed to do anything without being filmed. And lord knows that as a liberal, I just love spending other people’s tax dollars, but seriously? Could they have hired another music teacher with the cash they’ve ported to Rochester (hugs ‘n kisses)? Maybe spent that money on actual problems?