CHICAGO (CBS) — When a driver blows by a school bus with its stop arm displayed, it puts young lives in danger, and now a school district in Indiana has found a way to improve safety.
Delphi Community Schools bus driver Shelley Bowlin said stop arm violations are all too common.
“Oh, it makes me mad,” Bowlin said. “It makes me mad that they’re not paying attention or whatever it is that they’re doing.”
In Delphi, near Lafayette, five drivers have passed bus stop arms in the first two weeks of school, but they were all caught on newly-installed cameras on the district’s school buses, so they were sent tickets in the mail.
Delphi Community School Corporation operations director Ross Striebeck said the school district spent about $47,000 installing stop arm cameras on all buses this summer.
“It’s a $300 to $400 fine,” Striebeck said. “It could be a felony on your record, which stays with you for a long time.”
Before the cameras were installed, school bus drivers were supposed to write down the license plate numbers of any drivers who broke the law, but many said it was impossible to do that while keeping an eye on kids getting on and off the bus.
Now, cameras will record drivers on video when they pass a school bus with the stop arm out.
“There’s no question,” said Striebeck. “If we just had a still picture, they could probably argue that the stop arm wasn’t out, but the video shows your miles per hour. It shows that you’ve got your amber lights on. It shows that you’ve got your red stop arm out. You can’t contest that.”
Striebeck added that he thinks that not all people realize that the amber lights on school buses mean stop, not caution or slow down.
He said if you see those flashing, stop, even if the stop arm isn’t out yet.