Mount Olive School District installs cameras on school buses to catch drivers who illegally pass
There's an expanded effort now to catch drivers who illegally pass school buses in Morris County.
Mount Olive School District is using cloud computing and digital surveillance to catch those drivers in the act.
“When the stop arm is extended and the bus is stopped, that's when students can be getting on and off a bus, and if a car comes around, God forbid it could hit a student,” says Dr. Robert Zywicki, with the district.
By January, every bus ferrying kids to and from school in the district will have multiple cameras that are constantly recording. Motor vehicle laws say drivers on the same side of the road as a stopped school bus must stop within 25 feet of the bus, but far too many drivers choose to dangerously, and illegally, pass anyway.
“If someone passes a stopped bus, the driver hits a button and it records the time and date stamps it and then our security director is able to go and petition for a summons,” says Zywicki.
The $3,200 cameras were on four buses last spring. Since then, they've generated 120 tickets costing scofflaw drivers $20,000.
“The people around town, knowing we have them, are starting to be a little more cautious,” says Ottoson.
Ottoson has been a bus driver for more than 20 years. She wishes this kind of technology had been around sooner.
“We used to have to try and catch, write down their license plate number, which was impossible to do because you're watching the children,” says Ottoson.
Fines for illegal passing of a school bus start at $100, and also add five points to your driver’s license.
The cameras are also able to collect vehicle information including the make, model, and plate number.
“If you don't care about the safety of the children, next time it could be your child,” says Ottoson.