In their 2019 session, Indiana state lawmakers will be considering bills aimed at making school bus loading and unloading safer, following the deaths of three children at a northern Indiana bus stop in October 2018. Many feel they will not listen.
In a Star Press report, Mark Campbell, Assistant Superintendent at Centerville-Abington Community Schools in Wayne County, Indiana, said, "I know that stop-arm violations have been a hot topic for a number of years at the state Legislature, but nothing ever seems to get done about it. We participate in an annual stop-arm violation survey, and the results consistently show an average of 3,000 violations in a single day in Indiana."
The controversy continues with Chris Walls, President of the Ohio-based School Bus Safety Company, a firm that designs school-bus-training programs saying, “Cameras won’t solve the problem. I believe the key to reducing fatalities is education and training.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that in 2018, Pennsylvania became the 16th state to authorize localities, or school districts, to use school bus stop-arm cameras. In 2017, Arkansas and Utah passed legislation to allow the school bus stop-arm cameras. In 2016, Alabama expanded its initial program, which was created in 2015, in Mobile County. South Carolina and Wyoming enacted such laws in 2014, and in 2011 and 2012, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington enacted these measures. As of October 31, 2018, the Florida Legislature had not authorized school bus stop-arm cameras, although they are being tested in five Central Florida counties.
Bill French, an assistant director of transportation for the Volusia County School district and chairman of the State committee, is looking into the viability of the cameras. It is Mr. French’s hope to get legislation passed to allow cameras to be placed on the stop-arm which would record traffic activity to the front and the back of the bus. The cameras are currently only recording data, and no one is issuing tickets based on the cameras.
Here is how the American Traffic Solutions’ CrossingGuard stop-arm camera system works when it is fully operational:
Step 1: Video cameras are installed at key locations on the exterior of a school bus.
Step 2: When a school bus extends its stop arm, the system automatically detects a vehicle passing the stopped school bus within the enforced zone.
Step 3: When a vehicle passes the school bus, the cameras capture video showing the violating vehicle.
Step 4: The violation images extracted from the video include not only the violating vehicle as it passes the school bus, but also the vehicle’s license plate and the school bus’s extended stop arm. The video of the violating vehicle is provided as further evidence of the violation.
Step 5: Violation data and images are then wirelessly uploaded to ATS’ back-office processing system via a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Step 6: A final review of the violation images and video is conducted by law enforcement personnel, who either approve or reject the violation.
Step 7: If law enforcement approves the violation, a citation is issued and mailed to the vehicle owner.
School bus safety is an important issue for Southwest Florida. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is initiating a new initiative called “Safe Students – Safe Schools.” There are 50,000 students riding school buses in Lee County and about 6,300 bus stops. Extra emphasis on protecting students is a focus of the department, according to NBC2 News on Tuesday, December 11, 2018.
When the LCSO traffic unit conducted a two-hour operation in North Fort Myers to catch drivers illegally passing school buses, they caught six cars ignoring the flashing red lights on stopped school buses.
“Our school children are vulnerable when they are loading and unloading from school buses. We urge our state and school districts to authorize the installation of stop-arm cameras on our school buses and to follow up on any infractions with tickets,” said Fort Myers Child Injury Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.
“Should you or a loved one be injured in a school bus accident, after seeking treatment, please contact our legal team. There are no costs or attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you,” said Attorney Spivey.
Fort Myers Child Injury Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.