WARREN, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Bus cameras are being installed on the interior and the exterior of all 80 buses in the Warren County School District. These cameras are to reduce incidents of where drivers are blowing past those school buses and putting students into harm’s way.
Since last week, mechanics down at the Warren Bus Lines have spent their days installing cameras on every bus in the district. These bus cameras, funded by a company called BusPatrol aims at keeping kids safer at the bus stop and getting off the bus.
The cameras, four on the inside and six more on the outside will capture a driver going through the buses flashing red lights, take a high definition video of the license plate.
After multiple reviews by law enforcement, if they found you broke the law, the owner of the vehicle that ran through the bus light will be issued a 300 dollar citation in the mail.
WCSD has been excited to unveil this project, which they hope will be complete in the next few weeks and have the cameras operational on every bus and on the roads by February.
“We want to help our bus drivers too because it’s a hard job that our drivers do out there. They all work for contractors that work for us. They are out there every day and are making sure our students cross the roads safety. It’s one adult on that bus trying to make it happen, so it’s going to be a great assist for them,” explains WCSD Superintendent Amy Stewart.
“The past several years we’ve had numerous complaints from bus drivers and also concerned citizens of people running the red lights on school buses,” Mike Kiehl, Transportation Manager at the district says.
That’s why WCSD is now taking steps to stop these incidents. Ten cameras are being installed on each bus across all 80 within the district
Kiehl explains Warren schools are the first in Western PA to have this program.
“The cost to the district is zero dollars and the costs to the local taxpayer is also zero dollars. The person who pays for these cameras are actually the violators that run the red lights on these school buses. It’s a complete 360 view of our buses,” says Kiehl.
So how do these cameras work? They capture video when a person runs through the bus stop lights. It then gets sent to local law enforcement who issue the owner of the vehicle a 300 dollar ticket. The vehicle owner, can argue the citation in court, or just pay outright. Not only will this keep kids on the outside of the bus safer, but the cameras inside help the drive to keep an extra eye on students.
“The kids are going to know we have cameras on the bus. We have signs posted that they’re going to be under video and audio surveillance,” says Kiehl.
Stewart says her transportation team meets weekly to discuss safety issues. She explains every month they receive about 10-12 complaints from bus drivers and also concerned citizens about people blowing through the bus lights. With Warren being the second largest geological school district in the Commonwealth, this technology is a welcome solution.
“Our buses and vans run 10,500 miles every day,” says Stewart.
Both Kiehl and Stewart agree these cameras are a good thing for the district, and students. One BusPatrol employee installing the cameras tells me that he’s excited to have a part in this safety imitative.
“I think it’s awesome. I have a 10 month old daughter so working here it really makes me feel good and that I’m making the streets safer for kids like her,” says the employee.