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AG wants cameras to make NC school buses safer

Posted October 20, 2014

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— North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper wants public school buses across the state equipped with cameras to help capture drivers violating school-bus traffic safety laws.

Cooper said Monday that the equipment – similar to what's being used at traffic lights – would take photos of the license plates of any drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

"Careless drivers are putting students' safety at risk when they fail to stop for school buses," Cooper said in a statement. "Adding cameras and issuing automatic citations will help stop law breakers who put students' lives and safety at risk, and it can also pay for itself."

In a letter sent last week, he asked the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force to examine the technology and hear about how it's working in other states – including Georgia, Maryland and Virginia – and then recommend the best way to implement it.

Fines paid by violators, Cooper said, would go to pay for the system.

The proposal comes weeks after several students in the Triangle and surrounding areas were seriously injured while crossing the road to get onto a bus. In each case, buses were stopped, and safety signals on the buses were activated. Another student was killed while waiting for his bus.

Monday marks the beginning of National Bus Safety Week.

As part of the campaign, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol has kicked off its annual "Operation Stop Arm" to promote traffic safety around schools, school buses and school bus stops.

Approximately 1,500 state troopers will focus on school zones, trail buses and target and ticket drivers who don't obey traffic and safety laws.

A one-day survey at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year found that 3,153 vehicles passed stopped school buses in North Carolina, more than double the number of violators in 2000.

27 Comments

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  • theliberadicator Oct 24, 2014

    Why not seat belts Roy? Why do you not want each and every child to be buckled into those bus seats? Cameras won't save one child from death should their bus be in a serious accident.

  • kermit60 Oct 22, 2014

    Sure, and we need more crossing guards to stop highway traffic to let one car out of a school parking lot. Abuse your authority and people will ignore it!

  • Terry Watts Oct 21, 2014
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    Time and Money... one of which is in short supply since the State cut Education Transportation budgets...

  • Brian Hill Oct 21, 2014
    user avatar

    If you want to make school buses safer, set up the stops so children don't have to cross the road. Other countries manage to do this just fine (god forbid government employees have to actually do work though).

  • dwntwnboy2 Oct 21, 2014

    Roy is smart enough to know when not to spend money (fighting Amendment One) and when to spend money- like for bus cameras. He sure seems to care more for the general public than our current GOP "leaders" in NC. Cameras are cheap when compared to a child's life. How many kids have to get hit before people start to realize that those big, giant yellow-orange boxes are full of kids who will turn from passenger to pedestrian any moment?

  • Nan Toppin Oct 21, 2014
    user avatar

    I agree this is a good idea but they need cameras INSIDE the school bus also. One adult who is DRIVING the bus is not enough supervision for a busload of school kids. Bad things are happening on buses everyday and we need to crack down on that as well. Kids should not have to be afraid to ride the bus. They are entitled to travel to and from school without fear of being bullied or sexually assaulted.

  • coolblueeys2 Oct 21, 2014

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    ... It would take to much work to physically plan the routes to make all the stops on one side of the street for the kids not to cross. Good idea i do admit but, ( and this coming from a school bus driver for 14 years) .... its not financially feasable, considering all the backtracking, extra fuel costs, ultimately putting more buses on the road that should be retired..

  • coolblueeys2 Oct 21, 2014

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    ... School buses are the safest vehicles on the road. They are built to quality, state standards.. Many of you dont know that the bottom rub rail on the side of a school bus is the floor of the bus. School buses are only governed at 45 mph and school activity buses are governed at 55 mph. And as far as the seatbelts for children, most of the newer school buses can be ordered with them for the Child Safety Restraints, which usually end up being the first 2 or 4 seats, depending on the school district specifications, and even then, those seatbelts add on to the cost of a bus. A brand new 2015 Thomas Built school bus ( built to Wake County Specs) as of today, will run $81,672.00, this cost including 4 seats having the safety restraints built in to them. Although these buses are financed through the school system, the tax payers ultimately pay for them.

  • Edward Levy Oct 21, 2014
    user avatar

    I agree, cameras will not make any safer, but seat belts sure would. How come are children do not have the same RIGHTS as passenger vehicles laws. Do they have some mystical protection while on a bus, that usually travels at high rates of speed going on highways and in the community streets

  • theliberadicator Oct 21, 2014

    "Makes fiscal sense to use the cameras."

    Makes no sense. If Cooper wants to do something positive for man-kind, as he constantly proclaims, he would see to it that every bus has a seat belt for every kid.

    Since he has not said that the lack of seat belts is a concern of his, the real question is why not Roy?

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