ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. and NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Lawmakers in Tennessee and a school district in New Jersey are working to install stop-arm cameras on school buses as a way to capture motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.
State representative Jason Hodges introduced a new bill that would allow schools to add cameras on school buses as a way to catch motorists that drive past stopped school buses, News Channel 5 reports.
Hodges, who is co-sponsoring HB0268, told the news source that illegal school bus passing is a problem for many school districts in Nashville, Tennessee, and that the bill would allow schools to make the decision on whether to install the cameras on buses and how many.
If the cameras capture motorists in the act, the footage would then be turned over to local police, and the money from the fine would go back to the school, partly to help pay for the camera equipment, according to News Channel 5.
The bill has currently been assigned to the House Safety and Funding Subcommittee, according to the state’s general assembly website.
Meanwhile, officials from Rockaway Township School District told Morristown Daily Record that the district approved the stop-arm cameras to address the ongoing issue of distracted motorists that drive pass stopped school buses with their red lights flashing. Once the cameras are installed, they will be able to record vehicles that fail to stop for buses, and police will be able to use that information to mail out a summons, according to the news source.
Councilman Jack Quinn told Morristown Daily Record that the school board is working with the Rockaway Township Police Department and the city’s administration to install the cameras. James McLaughlin, the superintendent for the district, added that he anticipates there will be several locations that the district will focus on, and they will use input from bus drivers to determine which buses will be equipped with cameras first.
In the meantime, Martin McParland, the police chief for Rockaway Township Police Department, and McLaughlin told the news source that they are encouraging bus drivers to take note of license plate numbers and descriptions of vehicles. McParland added that they are also urging bus drivers to sign the proper complaints for identifying offending vehicles. The buses with cameras are expected to be on the road in April, Morristown Daily Record reports.