CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Starting Thursday, every school bus in the Chesapeake school district will not only have students on board - they will also have stop-arm cameras on the bus as well.
School officials say these new cameras are basically going to be like having police officers at every bus stop. The cameras are meant to keep an eye on the roads while students are getting on and off the bus and to make sure drivers are obeying the stop-arm to continue to create a safe zone for children.
The Director of Student Transportation for Chesapeake Public Schools, David Benson, says they have already had numerous reports throughout the division of people running the stop-arms while children were actively getting on or getting off of school buses.
"Fortunately for us in Chesapeake, we never had an accident or anyone hit at any bus stop. But, this is an opportunity for us to be proactive and change behaviors of drivers before that happens," Benson explained.
So, in order to be proactive, all 583 buses in the Chesapeake Public School District will now be equipped with the stop-arm cameras. In addition to these new cameras, there will be seven more installed in the interior of the bus and also around the perimeter.
If a driver does not obey the stop-arm and continues to keep driving, the new cameras will capture video through the sensors that are attached to them.
"That video is then sent to our partner bus patrol and those videos are reviewed to determine if there was a violation. They will clean that data up and then any violations that have occurred on their review is then sent to the local police department," Benson told News 3.
School officials say the police department will then determine if it was a violation. If it was, the review will be sent back to bus patrol where a citation will be issued and sent through the mail to the registered owner of the vehicle.
"I see it as a huge benefit for us not only to improve the safety of our bus stop but the other data we'll have access to because of the other cameras on the bus is going to be a huge benefit to us at the school division. But overall, it comes to safer bus stops for our students," Benson reiterated.
School officials say all of the feedback has been positive from both parents and drivers as well.