Bus-Mounted Cameras Help Police Catch School Bus Stop Violators

Aug 24, 2018, 7:28 PM

OREM, Utah – A warning has been issued for drivers in Utah County after new cameras have been installed on school buses. The cameras were expected to help police crackdown on drivers who don’t stop for the buses’ red flashing lights.

Officials said drivers would not be able to talk themselves out of a ticket.

To bus drivers in the Alpine School District, the effort wasn’t about fining drivers who broke the law, it was about keeping students safe.

Lee Gillman has been driving a school bus for 51 years in the district, and there’s not much that worries him more than seeing drivers who won’t stop when children are getting on or off his bus.

In the Alpine School District, bus drivers are reporting violations nearly every day, putting kids in danger.

“It is our job to make sure that they get to and from school safely, and that includes getting on and off the bus each day,” said Joe Hayes, the district’s transportation director.

Unless a police officer is following the bus, it’s nearly impossible for drivers who didn’t stop to be held accountable.

“This camera is a high definition camera,” said Shaun Adams, who works in the district’s transportation department. “It’s got infrared technology on it and it’s primarily angled specifically so it can get the vehicle’s license plate number.”

Adams oversees the cameras on all of the buses, which now includes exterior cameras. He said if a driver sees a violation, all they have to do is simply press a button, which marks the video clip and allows him to send it to the police within a few minutes after the driver finishes their route.

“We can see the plate. We can see the driver,” said Lt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Police Department.

Lt. Martinez said the bus footage was enough for them to track down a violator and issue a ticket. He said drivers should not count on just getting off with a warning.

One driver who ran through the red lights of a school bus Tuesday morning received a personal visit later that same day from police.

“The bus driver is going to be the witness to the violation, and the camera system and pictures and video is just going to back that up,” said Lt. Martinez.

Gillman said he hoped the new cameras would encourage people to stop for his lights, so he can keep his students safe.

“Honestly, I call them my kids, because they are my kids,” he said. “The ones I drive all the time, they are my kids.”

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Bus-Mounted Cameras Help Police Catch School Bus Stop Violators