SAN ANTONIO — A school district here has equipped its school buses with stop-arm cameras, cameras on the inside and outside of the bus, and Wi-Fi in an effort to improve student safety.
The San Antonio Independent School District’s (ISD’s) school buses now have stop-arm camera systems from American Traffic Solutions, according to the district’s Facebook page. The technology was installed by the company at no cost to the district.
Nathan Graf, the district’s senior executive director of transportation and vehicle maintenance, said that the district will also install other exterior and interior cameras on its 200 buses, according to the San Antonio ISD website.
“We will have a 360-degree view of everything in and around the outside of the bus,” Graf said, according to the website. “If a bus is hit from any side or if one of our drivers misses a stop sign, we will be able to see it.”
He added that he hopes the new stop-arm cameras will help raise motorists’ awareness of school buses.
Motorists in the area who illegally pass a stopped school bus will receive a warning notice until Sept. 30, according to the district’s website, which features a page addressing frequently asked questions (FAQs) about stop-arm cameras. As of Oct. 1, motorists who are found to have committed a stop-arm violation will receive a $300 citation under a local ordinance passed by the San Antonio City Council in 2016.
The FAQs page also includes information on how the stop-arm cameras work and the law regarding stopping for school buses.
Additionally, as part of the contract with Verra Mobility, San Antonio ISD is installing Wi-Fi on all of its buses. The district's goal is to have at least 30% of its school buses outfitted with the technology by December, and the rest by the end of the 2018-19 school year.
With Wi-Fi, students will be able to do homework and download books from an all-digital library, which is part of the district’s Rolling Readers program. Seven of the district’s buses are already equipped with Wi-Fi as part of that program.