Newport News (Va.) Public Schools (NNPS) and its local law enforcement provider have partnered with BusPatrol to launch a new school bus safety program that includes the addition of stop-arm cameras and other technology to the district’s buses.
As part of the program, which was announced on Monday, all 340 of NNPS' buses are now equipped with cloud-connected stop-arm cameras, 4G LTE connectivity, and 360-degree view safety cameras, according to a news release from BusPatrol. The new technology was reportedly installed at no cost to the district and will be funded by fines received from stop-arm violations.
The program aims to improve school bus safety by reducing the number of stop-arm violations and encouraging drivers to be aware when school buses are on roads, according to BusPatrol. The automated enforcement technology for NNPS will be active starting on Monday.
NNPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Parker noted that the partnership will help protect the more than 24,000 students who ride the district’s school buses every day.
“This partnership will encourage all drivers to be more cautious around school buses," he added. "Student safety is our first priority.”
The Newport News Police Department is also working with the school district to keep students safe.
“No parent should have to worry about his or her child’s safety,” said Steve Drew, chief of the Police Department. “With the technology that BusPatrol is bringing to our city, our hope is to eliminate stop-arm violations altogether.”
Passing a stopped school bus with its flashing lights activated and stop arm extended is illegal in Virginia, according to BusPatrol, and drivers are required to stop for a school bus approaching in any direction so that children can get on and off safely. Under Virginia law, failing to stop for a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing will result in a minimum penalty of $250 for a first violation.