Mobile County school buses are being outfitted with new technology aimed at keeping students safer. Seven video cameras are being installed outside each bus, and three are being put inside each bus
Outside cameras will detect drivers who try ignore school bus stop arms.
State Representative Margie Wilcox said friends of hers who drive school buses have complained to her about the problem.
“One of the things that they said was absolutely scary — [happening] at least once or twice a day — [is when] someone runs around the stop arm, and they are just petrified. They’re sitting in the driver’s seat honking,” Wilcox said.
“All they could do is honk and try to get the driver’s attention that there was a child crossing, and they were in danger.”
Inside cameras can be accessed by the school system at anytime.
“Right now it’s going to give us the ability to go live on the bus should there be an emergency of an accident or something like that,” said Ken Kvalheim, Transportation Quality Control Specialist.
“The driver can reach out to help so we can go live on the bus and talk with the driver.”
The cameras cost $10,000 per bus, but taxpayers won’t for it.
Wilcox pushed for a private-public partnership to make it possible. It allows lawbreakers to be fined on a civil level: $300 per ticket. That’s in addition to whatever criminal charges they may face.
“What this means for Mobile County, first and foremost: safety. This is just another tool that we’ve added to our fleet of buses to make sure that our children, our students are kept safe everyday,” said Pat Mitchell, Mobile County Public School System Transportation Director.