Cameras pointed at red light violators

Nick Moase
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Those that don't yield to a school bus with flashing red lights may soon find themselves on camera and in the hands of the police.

The South Shore Regional School Board has installed high definition exterior cameras on some of their buses, though the number is kept secret so drivers will heed whether the bus has a camera or not.

Denise Crouse, Transportation Coordinator for the SSRSB, says the increase in people passing busses when the red lights are flashing prompted them to find other solutions to combat the problem.

Just in Lunenburg and Queens, the bus drivers have to deal with three to four incidents a week. Crouse says they haven't had any injuries from these violators, and credits the bus drivers and their training for keeping the students safe.

With the drivers focused on the safety of the students, they can't always get the license plate in time to file a complaint with police.

The cameras cost about $3,300 to $3,600 each, depending on a few options, so they are not inexpensive.

"But then, what price tag do you put on safety," she says. "We feel that is a great investment to ensure students get on and off the bus safely.

The video cameras have a high enough resolution to capture license plate numbers of anyone who passes the bus when the lights are flashing. They can also capture the images when at high speeds and in adverse weather conditions.

The fines for drivers caught going around busses with their lights flashing starts at $399.91 for the first offense, and doubles after that.

Other school boards have implemented similar programs, and in Nova Scotia Crouse is aware of cameras on busses in Victoria, Cape Breton, Annapolis, and Straight School Board areas.

 Transportation facts:

87 routes

282 morning and afternoon runs

6,286 students transported daily

2,980,129 kilometers driven each year

15,937 kilometers driven every day

824,100 liters of diesel fuel consumed

SSRSB is not the only school board with this issue. Tri-County is dealing with an epidemic:

Vehicles running school bus red lights "out of control" board told

Organizations: Straight School Board

Geographic location: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Crouse, Victoria Cape Breton Annapolis

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