Excerpts from an editorial in the Dallas Morning News:
Only in baseball does a 70 percent failure rate still translate to a good average. When a program touted as an innovative way to cut down on motorists passing stopped school buses swings and misses at that rate, something is badly amiss.
Our hats are off to Dallas Morning News Watchdog columnist Dave Lieber, who recently uncovered what one might politely describe as a passel of problems with Dallas County Schools’ pioneering school bus camera program. Since fall 2012, cameras on Dallas County school buses have snapped pictures of about 56,000 supposed violators. Yet, of the more than 7,000 drivers who contested their ticket at an administrative hearing, an astounding 70 percent won dismissals over some human or technical flaw. That’s real money lost, about $1.5 million left uncollected at the hearing stage alone.
By law, motorists must halt whenever a stopped school bus has its red stop sign arm extended and warning lights blinking as a way to protect the children getting on and off. Hearing officers somehow managed to improperly interpret the law, resulting in a batch of dismissals. Other motorists managed to elude the $300 fine because of quirks and inconsistencies in the GPS system used to pinpoint the location. When the GPS gets it wrong, the case goes away.
In a world where bureaucratic foul-ups like this are all too frequent, some might think of this revenue loss as tiny stuff. But there was no good reason to have gotten this wrong and every reason to get it right.