The Hancock Central School Transportation Department has added Stop Arm Cameras to all 13 of the District’s school buses, HCS Transportation Supervisor Jodi Newman announced Wednesday.
Installed in October by Surveillance-247, a mobile digital video company with an office in Norwich, Stop Arm Cameras can capture footage of vehicles that pass a school bus on the left (driver’s) side when the stop arm is extended and the red lights are flashing. Although this is illegal, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation reports that an estimated 50,000 motorists statewide pass stopped school buses with red lights flashing every school day.
State lawmakers approved legislation allowing school districts to add Stop Arm Cameras to their buses September 5, the first day of the 2019-2020 academic year at Hancock. Newman said Stop Arm Cameras are add-on features that complement existing school bus camera systems and can capture a license plate on a vehicle traveling up to 75 mph, day or night.
“Red lights are a stop sign, and the public needs to be aware that children are being loaded or unloaded when this stop sign is activated,” said Newman, who added that the cost ($398 per bus) was figured into Hancock’s 2019-2020 School Budget. “When a vehicle passes one of our buses with the reds on, the driver can mark the footage by pressing a button on the side dash.”
Once downloaded, footage can be slowed to frame-by-frame shots and transferred to a thumb drive for law enforcement to view. A ticket is then issued to registered owner of the offending vehicle. According to the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/school-bus-safety), fines can range from $250 for first-time offenders to $1,000 and jail time for repeat offenders.