Newport News Public Schools hoping to install stop-arm cameras on school buses

Stopping drivers who put kids in danger. That's the aim in Newport News.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Stopping drivers who put kids in danger.

That's the aim in Newport News. The school division is hoping to implement stop-arm cameras on school buses.

School leaders hope this will have a big effect on catching people who pass buses illegally.

The Newport News School board gave the okay Tuesday to install the cameras on their school buses, designed to discourage drivers from violating the law.

All that's left now is for city council to pass an ordinance allowing the school division to move forward and put cameras on the bus.

Here's how the camera's will work: As soon as the bus stops and the stop arm comes out, the cameras start rolling for anyone violating the law. That video is then reviewed by an outside company. If the company deems a driver is in violation, that violation goes to the police department. Ultimately police will approve the violation and the outside company issues a citation to that driver.

The fine for anyone breaking the law is $250 dollars.

Newport News Public Schools conducted three stop-arm cameras pilots using six buses, most recently during a three-month span in 2016. During that time, cameras captured 703 violations at 93 different stops.

Nathaniel Calvin has two kids who ride the school bus in Newport News. He says the thought of anything happening to his kids as they're getting on the school bus is frightening.

“As a parent when you send your kids to school you don't think you’re putting them in harm's danger, but people are careless,” Calvin says. “Anything that'll keep the kids safe and just people in general safe I’m all for it.

Newport News Director of Transportation Shay Coates says depending on which company they go with, anywhere from 30% to 100% of their buses will have cameras.

There is no cost to the school district. The company recoups the money through the fines, and a portion of the money will also go to the school division.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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