Rockingham County Installing New School Bus Camera System

6:06 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- Some Rockingham County school buses are getting cameras to help deter and catch drivers who pass stopped school buses.

The camera system will be able to shoot video of any vehicle illegally passing a stopped school bus and take still images of the driver and license plate.

This is the latest effort by a district to cut down on the number of children killed or injured at school bus stops in the state.

Last school year, there were at least four incidents - in the Triad - of drivers ignoring the stop arm and flashing lights of a school bus and hitting young children while they were trying to get to their school buses.

Even the state General Assembly passed a school bus safety bill.

Rockingham County hopes technology will help get a handle on the problem on the local level.

"The thing I really like about this is that it gets the whole panoramic shot," said Rodney Shotwell, the district's superintendent.

Four cameras are strategically placed on a black box mounted outside the bus under the stop arm.

According to Gatekeeper Systems, the manufacturer, the cameras can perfectly capture a picture of the entire vehicle and more importantly the license plate.

"From the time you come up behind the bus, beside it and in front of it.There's no question, looking at those pictures, that that is your car," Shotwell added. "It won't take but catching in the different areas and word will get out that you're not going to pass a school bus in Rockingham County."

Several of the buses in the fleet of 155 buses will have the cameras.

"As a parent, to know that we have this camera system on there, as well as cameras on the buses, it just makes us feel safe to put our kids in somebody else's hands to get them home and to get them to school every day," said Stephany Ray, a parent and the assistant principal at the county's middle school.

Starting August 26th, when school is back in session, Rockingham County school bus drivers will be required to speak up about violations as soon as they pull into the depot at the end of their shifts.

School leaders will immediately review the tape and get the evidence to the district attorney.


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