As students prepare to return to school next week, Howard County police are working to ensure that children, parents and teachers arrive safely. Through an annual back-to-school initiative known as H.A.S.T.E. (Helping Arriving Students Through Enforcement), officers will focus on enforcing driver and pedestrian safety in school zones.

Increased traffic patrols will be in place on roadways surrounding elementary, middle and high schools for the first three weeks of the school year. Officers will focus on drivers who are speeding, failing to stop for pedestrians or driving distracted in those areas. They also will be checking for seat belt and child safety seat use to ensure all occupants are properly restrained.

Police are also reminding drivers that buses serving the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) have been outfitted with external cameras. The purpose of the program, which launched last school year, is to ensure student safety by discouraging motorists from passing buses illegally. The state of Maryland’s fine for illegally passing a school bus is $250.

Additionally, the department’s speed camera program is designed to encourage drivers to slow down in school zones and has fines set at $40. The cameras are rotated among various school zones in the county, which are posted in advance and updated every week at The site also offers additional information on all the department’s automated enforcement programs and answers to frequently asked questions.

New lighted stop signs have been distributed to all crossing guards in an effort to improve visibility and the safety of students and guards. The signs were funded by fines collected through HCPD’s Automated Enforcement programs.

The police department will continue to conduct traffic safety education and enforcement efforts throughout the school year.


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