Automated school bus stop-arm cameras are being used in some locations across Arizona and in many other places across the nation. The goal of the cameras is to help monitor drivers who fail to obey the legal requirement to stop when a child enters or exits their school bus. The cameras are operable when the stop-arm is deployed and the lights of the school bus are flashing.
One area employing these cameras is the Arlington, Virginia Public School system.
The cameras are visible and officials hope they’ll serve as a deterrent to those breaking the law. They work in the following ways:
- High-resolution cameras are set up on the outside of the school bus.
- When the bus stop-arm is extended, the cameras can detect any vehicles that pass the stopped bus.
- If a car or vehicle does pass the buss, the cameras take videos and pictures of the vehicle in the act of passing. The cameras also capture the vehicle’s license plate.
- The data and images are uploaded to a special violation processing system. The county police department then examines the upload to determine if a violation has occurred.
There is some variance among different jurisdictions about whether the images and video are admissible in court. However, the video and images can be useful if a child or parent is hurt at the school bus crossing by identifying the car that was at fault so that the owners can be held accountable.
According to Arlington Public Schools, more than 400 children across the country have been killed by a driver who passes illegally during the past four decades. The cameras are necessary because the police simply can’t monitor all the buses across every school district.
The cameras are aligned to take pictures of the vehicle’s license plate but are not aligned to take pictures of the driver.
The camera view from Arizona
According to Channel 12 News in Arizona:
- Fifteen states nationwide have approved the use of school bus arm cameras statewide. Arizona is not among those fifteen, although some school districts in Arizona have approved their use – including Maricopa school district and Tolleson school district. The school districts do not, however, have the authority to issue tickets or citations. Violators in these school districts get a “friendly reminder in the mail saying that passing stopped school buses is against the law.”
- According to a nationwide bus driver survey, there are nearly 84,000 illegal passes recorded each day across the country.
- One state representative, Richard Andrade, who sits on the Transportation Committee, thinks it’s time for Arizona to consider having a conversation about the use of these new high-resolution cameras that may help save a child’s life.
At Plattner Verderame P.C., our Phoenix school bus accident attorneys understand that parents place their child’s safety in the hands of school bus and other motorists. When someone’s careless driving causes a child injury or wrongful death, we fight to hold all responsible people accountable for the harm to your child.