Most motorists will yield to a school bus with its stop arm out, but some drivers keep on going despite the flashing lights and one metro school district is hoping cameras will put a stop that.
Bloomington School District is trying to put the brakes on what is becoming a growing problem. Last year in Minnesota, there were 40 crashes involving school buses with extended stop arms, leaving 12 injured and one killed.
"I get one or two a week," T-Roy Davidson, a bus driver, told FOX 9 News. "I try to get a license plate, but we can't always do that. We see them, we nail them. Don't want a kid getting flattened out there."
By law, drivers must be 20 feet away from school buses when the red flashing lights or extended stop arm are activated; however, district officials say they've seen at least 250 cases of drivers ignoring those warning signs in the last year alone. That's why they're outfitting the bus arms with cameras now.
"We have a camera up here that is looking backward, a camera here which views the driver," explained Tom Oestreich.
So far, the district has installed new camera systems on 15 buses.
"This camera is recording cars who are passing the school bus," Oestreich demonstrated.
The hope is that the cameras will capture license plate numbers. Then, law enforcement officers can use that data to deter drivers via citations.
The camera systems cost $2,000 per bus, and the district hopes to outfit all 110 of its buses; however, they must wait for a safety and security referendum to see if taxpayers are willing to pick up the tab. Parents who spoke with FOX 9 News say they would give the idea a green light.