Safety

Indiana District Awarded $50K for Stop-Arm Cameras

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on July 7, 2016
East Noble School Corp. received a grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security for windshield and exterior stop-arm cameras for all of its 55 school buses.
East Noble School Corp. received a grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security for windshield and exterior stop-arm cameras for all of its 55 school buses.

KENDALLVILLE, Ind. — A school district here has been awarded a $50,000 grant to equip its entire school bus fleet with stop-arm cameras.

The Secured School Safety Grant, from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, will provide windshield and exterior stop-arm cameras for all of the 55 school buses in East Noble School Corp.’s fleet.  

The district is believed to be the first in the state to be awarded such a grant for stop-arm cameras, said John Legus, the transportation director for East Noble School Corp.  

The school system’s transportation department started researching the use of stop-arm cameras on school buses in November 2015.

“We gathered our drivers, technicians and office staff, and met with county prosecutors, sheriffs, and city and state police to talk with them about the problem [of illegal school bus passing],” Legus said.  

In March, the district’s transportation department launched a pilot of the camera system, supplied by 247Security, on one of its new school buses. A windshield camera was used to detect potential stop-arm violations, and three cameras were placed under the stop arm. Two of those cameras faced backward to capture images of license plate numbers from up to five lanes of traffic moving in the opposite direction. The forward-facing camera captured license plate numbers of vehicles driving in the same direction as the bus. Since the launch, the district has caught 16 violators with the stop-arm cameras on that bus, Legus added.

The transportation department uses video from the camera as a supplement to a written report that it sends to law enforcement. If an incident is determined to be illegal passing, officers will issue a citation, which carries a fine of $400 in Noble County.

The challenge in the state has been that fines for the violation vary widely across the state — up to $10,000 in some counties — and the law against illegal passing of school buses is not enforced in some counties, Legus said.

Schools in some counties have not been able to get assistance from law enforcement or county prosecutors, whether or not their school buses are equipped with stop-arm cameras. However, that has not been the case for East Noble School Corp.

“We are very fortunate to have support from our county prosecutor and law enforcement,” Legus said.
 
Meanwhile, proposed state bills have been submitted in an effort to make illegal passing enforcement uniform across the state. One such bill, SB 326, would let school bus drivers, monitors, and crossing guards provide a statement after witnessing a motorist illegally passing a school bus, and would also allow law enforcement to give a citation to motorists who run a school bus stop arm if a signed affidavit has been completed.

Legus said that the school district has received the grant before, but not for the purpose of stop-arm cameras. This year, when it came time to apply, the transportation department notified the district about the problem it has had — along with many other school transportation providers across the U.S. — with stop-arm running, and put all its effort into research, and included videos of illegal passing incidents in its application.

The transportation department hopes that its efforts can help school districts statewide to keep kids safe, Legus said.

“We believe we are going to provide an example for other districts, other counties, other leaders, and show them that this is a process we can follow, and prosecute those who are illegally passing our buses. We are very proud of this. I am thankful to everyone involved for making our stop-arm camera system launch a success.”

The East Noble School Corp. transportation department expects the grant funds to arrive by September, and it will then start installing stop-arm cameras on all of its school buses. The department plans to have the cameras on every bus over the course of the upcoming school year.

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Video

School Bus Songs: ‘Stop When the Arm is Out’

Michigan City (Ind.) Area Schools’ transportation department, also known as the “stop-arm singers,” recreate The Supremes’ famous “Stop in the Name of Love” — urging motorists to think twice before illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Heidi King’s last day as acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be Aug. 31. Photo courtesy NHTSA
News

NHTSA Acting Administrator to Step Down

Heidi King’s last day as acting administrator of the regulatory agency will be Aug. 31. She will be replaced by James Owens, the U.S. DOT’s deputy general counsel.

Video

School Bus Songs: 'Washboard Road'

Jay Heilman, a bus driver with Pasco County (Fla.) Schools, is joined by other members of the district’s transportation staff as he details the trials and triumphs of pupil transportation in his own catchy version of Lil Nas X's “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

File photo courtesy School Bus Safety Co.
Article

Shake-Ups Prompt a Closer Look at Safety

Although we all agree that the motoring public needs to be more cautious, bus drivers can also help mitigate the number of dangerous incidents by following safe and consistent loading and unloading practices.

When unloading, do not step off the bus before sticking out the hand-held stop sign and checking both directions alongside the bus for hazards.
Photo

PHOTOS: California Loading, Unloading Safety

Sabine Konrad, driver instructor for Visalia Unified School District, demonstrates some key steps designed to boost safety when crossing students in the loading and unloading process use by the state.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!