Fines start at $300 for a first offense and rise to $1,000 for a third offense in five years. The school system predicts the fines will cover the cost.
"Nobody's here to make money," said James Arrowood, director of public safety for the school system. "It's to hopefully prevent people from running school bus stop arms."
The school system estimates that about 1,000 violations occur per day, or nearly one violation for each bus the district has on the road.
Officials with Fayette County schools say they also use such cameras, and Fulton school officials say they are considering them. Other major metro Atlanta school systems, such as Cherokee, Clayton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, do not use them.
The initiative started with two parents. Mandi Call and Sheri Lewis lived in the same neighborhood as Karla Campos, a 5-year-old Cobb girl who was killed in 2009 by a driver who ran past a stopped bus.
"When that little girl was killed, Mandi and I looked at each other and said we need to do something about this," Lewis said.
The duo did some research and discovered that other states allowed fines based on video recordings. They lobbied the Georgia General Assembly in 2010, but failed to get a law passed. Finally, this year, they succeeded, with the help of Rep. Don Parsons, R-Marietta, who wrote the legislation that was adopted as Senate Bill 57.
Arrowood said he expects more fines because the court cases won't rest on the sometimes faulty memory of bus drivers. Now, they'll just have to push a button to mark the spot on the continuous videos, so the incident can later be downloaded and sent to the courts.
"Drivers want to be focused on driving," Arrowood said, "not having to be worrying about tag numbers."