Local News

School bus cameras poised to catch drivers who don't stop

Posted August 14, 2014
Updated August 15, 2014

— Two school buses in each of North Carolina’s 115 school districts will have cameras mounted on the outside to catch stop-arm violators, under a pilot program this year.

Officials are hoping the cameras will also serve as a deterrent to prevent tragedies such as the death last year of 7-year-old Aaliyah Morgan, who was killed when 39-year-old Johnny Spell drove his logging truck past a stopped school bus and hit her in Sampson County. Spell was sentenced last month to 18 years in prison.

“Any time that there are cars running by, if that child has to cross the street, then they're in jeopardy if someone is running that stop arm,” said Charles Bell, transportation supervisor for Cumberland County Schools.

Charlotte-based Fortress Mobile is installing the cameras and will store the video. The bus driver pushes a button and marks it when a violation occurs. The video is then retrieved and used in court.

“Directly underneath the stop-arm, there’s a camera that is pointed out, capturing the picture of the driver and seeing who the driver of the vehicle is,” Bell said.

Another camera points at traffic facing the rear of the bus.

The Rowan-Salisbury school system has been successful at prosecuting violators in court. Cumberland County officials will evaluate the program to determine whether they should purchase additional cameras next year.

School leaders said they hope the cameras encourage drivers to obey the law and stop when the red lights on a school bus are flashing and the stop-arm is out.

“Most of the time, I think, it’s people in a hurry and not paying attention to what it is,” Bell said.


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  • Vietnam Vet Aug 15, 2014

    It's about time!! It's a shame it took a child dying to get serious about this.

  • Brian Jenkins Aug 15, 2014

    Can we get cameras on every police officer now? Thanks.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Aug 15, 2014

    Glad they did this, but what a sad note of a society that needs this, where everyone doesn't use plain old common sense to keep kids safe.
    I pray this works well, and I also pray all school buses across the nation has these installed.

  • The Truth 73 Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    By stopping when not needed you can cause an accident. Be aware but do not stop unless required by law or if a situation occurs where you need to.

  • Kristin Byrne Aug 15, 2014
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    In case anyone is interested, the rules for stopping for a school bus are listed on pages 42 and 43.


  • Kristin Byrne Aug 15, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    No child should ever be running across a divided highway in order to catch a bus because bus stops aren't set up like that. Kids don't have to cross the street to get to their bus stop.

    You stopping like that could cause a serious accident. You might want to think twice.

  • common tater Aug 15, 2014

    So Deb do you stop in the thru lanes for every child on a sidewalk or waiting at a bus stop with no bus, because they could run out? Do you stop anywhere near schools, with no one in a crosswalk, because a child could run across to get there? The buses don't stop for children on the opposite side of a 5-lane, hence the law. So what about the children who could be hurt because the texting/tailgating driver behind hits you when you stop in a thru lane where you're not supposed to stop. Everyone following the rules is safer...that's why the laws are on the books. Slow down, yes, but don't stop unless it makes sense.

  • Jump1 Aug 15, 2014

    If I was put on camera I would ask that the driver personally id me as the drive, photos can be touched and changed.

  • 45ACP Aug 15, 2014

    So, does this mean I can set up my go-pro camera in my vehicle and turn the footage of all traffic violations over to the police so they can issue tickets?

  • Deb Rodgers Aug 15, 2014
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    I'm well aware, on a divided highway I don't need to stop for a school bus, but I always! will...One never knows when a child is going to run across the divided highway to catch that bus. One or two minutes out of my day, stopping for a bus picking up children is worth it, at least to me.