Austin Independent School District in Texas has released video from its bus cameras that show vehicles blowing past school buses while students are getting off.
Buses in Wisconsin aren’t equipped with outside cameras to catch potential lawbreakers, but the Janesville school board president thinks it’s something that should be discussed.
“We have cameras on police, on fire, literally you and I and everyone, we have a camera,” Kevin Murray said. “It’d be a great gift to save someone’s life because of a simple camera and technology.”
Murray was shocked when he saw the video.
“I’m just blown away by that. My heart goes out to those students,” he said.
Sgt. Aaron Ellis, with the Janesville Police Department, is the school liaison supervisor. He said there haven’t been any serious incidents of drivers hitting students in Janesville, but there are times when drivers get too close for comfort.
“We get close-call accidents all the time,” Ellis said. “Fortunately, we haven’t had any serious injuries to any of the students that get off these buses.”
Ellis said bus drivers in Wisconsin are able to report drivers who pass a school bus illegally. Last year, the police department received 17 reports and issued three citations.
“I think there’s probably a lot more, but often the driver of the bus can’t identify the vehicle and therefore, we can’t issue a citation,” Ellis said.
Cameras on the outside of buses would be able to catch cars passing illegally that the bus drivers might not be able to see.
“To have an extra set of eyes on the bus would help us enforce this law,” Ellis said.
Wisconsin law requires all drivers to stop at least 20 feet behind a school bus that has its red flashing lights on. The law applies to drivers behind the bus as well as on the other side of the road unless the road is divided by a center median.
There is a $200.50 fine for drivers who pass a school bus while its crossing arm and stop sign are extended.