In an effort to improve school bus safety, the East Greenbush Central School District is installing stop arm cameras on its entire fleet of buses. The new technology, which is being added at no cost to the school district, will monitor for motorists who illegally pass school buses and then issue traffic tickets for violations.
An estimated 50,000 vehicles illegally pass school buses in New York State every day, according to the New York Association for Pupil Transportation.
Installation of the stop arm cameras began on December 27 at the East Greenbush Central School District Transportation Center. The company installing the cameras, Bus Patrol, is able to complete installation on four buses per day. With 102 school buses in the fleet, it is expected that all school buses will have stop arm cameras operational by the end of February.
HOW IT WORKS: The stop arm camera will begin recording any time the school bus’s red lights flash and the red stop sign extends out from the bus. If a vehicle drives past the bus during that time, the camera will record it and identify the license plate number. The video will be automatically uploaded to Bus Patrol where it will be reviewed, and if a traffic violation has occurred, it will be sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency for ticketing.
“Student safety is the top priority of our district,” said Superintendent Jeff Simons. “Each year we receive several reports from our bus drivers regarding cars passing our school buses when the STOP Arm is engaged. We hope that the implementation of this new technology, at no cost to our taxpayers, will deter such actions on the part of drivers and keep our students safe.”
“We are grateful to Rensselaer County and all of the law enforcement jurisdictions within our school district for their partnership efforts in bringing this program to full fruition,” Mr. Simons continued.
In addition to the stop arm camera, Bus Patrol is installing cameras on the dashboard, passenger side, rear side and the interior of every school bus. The East Greenbush CSD Transportation Department will be able to access those cameras should they need to review an incident on the bus or with another vehicle.
In an effort to improve school bus safety, the East Greenbush CSD is installing stop arm cameras on its entire fleet of buses.
The new technology, which is being added at no cost to the school district, will monitor for motorists who illegally pass school buses. pic.twitter.com/t9J2i82i28
— East Greenbush CSD (@EGreenbushCSD) January 9, 2023
“The stop arm cameras will provide additional safety for our students, community members and bus staff,” said Transportation Administrator Dr. Wanda McQueen. “Bus Patrol data shows a decrease of 33% in vehicles passing school buses illegally each year over the first three years. The interior cameras will offer video and audio access with advanced features including live camera footage during the bus run. This will enhance our ability to support our bus staff in real time.”
Adding stop arm cameras to the East Greenbush CSD bus fleet has been a collaborative effort between the school district, its Board of Education and Rensselaer County.
The Rensselaer County Legislature is paying for the implementation of this program.
“I was enthusiastic about sponsoring this program because I truly believe this program will protect our children,” said Kelly Hoffman, Chairwoman of the Rensselaer County Legislature. “This program should serve as a deterrent and reminder that if someone carelessly decides to place children in harm’s way, their dangerous action will be caught on camera. My colleagues Rob Bayly, Leon Fiacco, Tom Grant and I are thrilled that the East Greenbush Central School District chose to participate in this program, and we thank Superintendent Jeff Simons and school board member Mark Mann for their input and support. Thanks also to County Executive Steve McLaughlin and Sheriff Pat Russo for their commitment to making this program work in our community.”
Special thanks to the East Greenbush CSD Transportation Department, the Rensselaer County Legislature and school vice president Mark Mann for their efforts with this project!