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Are School Bus with Cameras for You?



School districts across the nation are experiencing a major issue. The problem is that drivers aren’t stopping for the school bus stop sign. This creates an unsafe environment for other vehicles as well as pedestrians. There have been many studies that show the issue is plenty prevalent still in today's society. The issue of illegal passing has made national headlines in recent years. Frustrated school districts often consider the idea of purchasing school bus cameras. The districts think that the cameras will be a deterrent for the public. Districts still have many questions as it relates to school bus red light cameras. I researched this issue in detail. I would love to help address some of your most asked questions about these bus cameras.

Did you know? It's illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. In all cases on divided highways, traffic behind the bus must stop.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

https://www.nhtsa.gov/school-bus-safety/reducing-illegal-passing-school-buses



Intro


What do school bus cameras look like? Outside cameras are either yellow or black. They are wedge-shaped boxes located on the driver’s side or rear of the school bus. School bus with cameras have a transparent opening. Interior cameras are black dome-shaped boxes. They mount between the window-level and interior roof of a bus.


Source: Seon

https://www.seon.com/school-bus-safety/school-bus-frequently-asked-questions


How much does a school bus camera cost? One of Seon’s outside cameras cost $1,945. To compare, a complete system of Gardian Angel school bus lights maxes out around $379. If you're looking for a more cost-effective option consider Gardian Angel.

It not only stops drivers from passing, but illuminates children. Prices may vary, but around $119 - $379 it's hard to beat. The Gardian Angel also helps the bus cameras see the correct color of vehicle in darkness. This is necessary in some states for prosecution.


Source: Daily Record, part of the USA Today network

https://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/2019/02/13/rockaway-twp-installs-school-bus-cameras-catch-unyielding-drivers/2787357002/

Did you know? Many drivers speed up when they observe the stop sign is about to extend. This type of pass may end up in a citation. Your best bet to avoid a ticket is to wait for the stop-sign to retract before proceeding with your commute.

Can school buses have cameras? Yes, a lot of new school buses sold today either has cameras or is able to fit them when specifications allow. Each state has different requirements about what features a school bus may have. Each state needs permission to use and install the cameras before purchasing. Permission is necessary even for pilot testing the school bus cameras. School buses have some of the strongest laws for allowing new transportation technology. This is because the safety of school children is at stake.


Are school bus cameras legal? School bus cameras are already legal in many states. Almost every new school bus sold today either has cameras or is set to accommodate them. The most common way a school bus cam becomes legal is through a lobbying process. Stop-arm camera makers and their lobbyists pitch school bus cameras to lawmakers. The lawmakers then take this idea and send it off through legislation in a form of a Bill. These bills allow these stop-arm camera companies to automate enforcement.


Where are school bus cameras located? There are two main kinds of school cameras. There are interior and outside camera systems. The placement of an interior bus camera is near the roof-level inside of a bus. The placement of exterior camera cameras are either located on the side of the bus and/or back of the bus. The exterior side cameras are often positioned somewhere near the stop sign. The cameras on the back are often placed towards the top of the bus. These cameras help catch different angles as violators pass.

Did you know? Most violators pass from the front of the bus rather than the rear.

Do school buses have cameras outside? In certain states that allow cameras, yes. The placement of exterior cameras is on the drivers’ side of the bus often near the stop sign. These cameras record instances outside of the bus and captures license plates. And before you even ask, yes depending on the view and angle they may be able to capture images and footage of your face.


Do school buses have cameras inside? In certain states that allow the cameras, yes. The placement of interior cameras is near the roof-level inside of a bus. These help with various allegations while on the bus.


How do school bus cameras work? The cameras activate when the engine starts. They capture images/video inside and outside a school bus. Some record with audio. The footage is then downloaded for review. After review, a notice of violation may occur.


Does school bus have cameras? Yes, many states across the country have approved school bus camera bills. These bills grant permission to automate enforcement for school bus camera violations.


Did you know? There is already an approved new technology in more states than the school bus stop sign cameras. One of its benefits is preventing illegal passing from ever occurring in the first place. No wonder why everyone is talking about the Gardian Angel® school bus lighting system.

States and provinces

Are school buses equipped with cameras in NJ? There are conflicting accounts of school bus camera systems usage in New Jersey. It appears, yes, New Jersey may use them, but is up to the districts. In 2018, a NJ school bus bill failed through the legal system.


Do school buses have cameras in Ontario? Yes. Ontario can install school bus cameras to catch violators passing. This allowance happened in April 2019.


Source: Driving

https://driving.ca/auto-news/news/ontario-using-cameras-to-catch-school-bus-passers


Do school buses have cameras in California? Not yet. Senate Bill 371 is getting reviewed by California legislature. Senate Bill 371 would allow school districts to install external stop arm cameras. It started by Senator Caballero on February 20, 2019. On March 25, 2019 it needed amending and was re-referred to the committee.


Source: California Legislation Information

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billStatusClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB371


Do school buses have cameras in Ohio? Yes, and an Ohio bill is trying to solidify their stance on the issue. House Bill 83, started on February 2019. It needed referred back to the committee on March 5, 2019.


Source: The Ohio Legislature

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA133-HB-83


Do school buses have cameras in Illinois? Yes. In 2013, Illinois passed Senate Bill 923. This bill authorized the use of exterior bus cameras.


Source: Huff Post

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/illinois-school-bus-camera-bill_n_3165126


Do school buses have cameras in Texas? Districts in Texas may purchase cameras. School districts are apprehensive of the idea. In fact, so much that there is now a bill that’s aimed at banning the cameras altogether. This comes from corruption scandal involving Dallas County Schools. Two DCS top officials pled guilty in a bribery scandal involving a school bus camera company. They admitted to taking bribes in exchange for securing contracts with the camera company. School bus camera companies are no stranger to bribes and scandals. Here’s an example for the United States Department of Justice. This showing a camera company’s CEO pleading guilty to corruption with red light camera contracts.


Source: United States Department of Justice

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/former-redflex-ceo-pleads-guilty-corruption-awarding-city-chicago-s-red-light-camera


Do school buses have cameras in Florida? No. There was a bill that worked its way through Florida legislature. House Bill 849 would’ve allowed school districts to install stop arm cameras. The camera bill died on May 3, 2019. Florida no longer considers school bus cameras.


Source: The Florida Senate

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00849/Category


Do school buses have cameras in Michigan? Yes, Holt Public Schools in Ingram County even has the stop arm cameras on their buses.


Source: WILX

https://www.wilx.com/content/news/Holt-schools-add-stop-arm-cameras-to-buses-to-catch-passing-drivers--507340461.html


Do PA school buses have cameras? Yes, Pennsylvania is one of the states that currently allow the use of the cameras.


Source: WTRF

https://www.wtrf.com/news/new-law-putting-cameras-on-school-buses-goes-into-effect-in-pa/1717067320


Did you know? Pennsylvania is the 2nd most deadly state for school bus accidents ever recorded. PA had 33 fatalities of school children die in or around the loading or unloading areas of a school bus. One of the latest of these tragedies happened in 2016.

Source: Gardian Angel, LLC


What states have school bus cameras? 18 states have laws allowing school bus stop-arm cameras. States enacting laws for school bus cameras are: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.


Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas may also install school bus with cameras. This is up to the individual school districts.


Source: School Transportation News

https://stnonline.com/safety-resources/#stop-arm-laws


Which states have school bus cameras? 18 states have laws allowing school bus stop-arm cameras. States enacting laws for school bus cameras are: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.


Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas may also install school bus with cameras. This is up to the individual school districts.


Source: School Transportation News

https://stnonline.com/safety-resources/#stop-arm-laws


Did you know? The 20 states approve of the Gardian Angel school bus light. Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming all allow the system. This light stops illegal passing from ever occurring in the first place.

Footage

Are school bus cameras always on? Yes. Anytime the bus is running up to ten minutes after the engine shuts down the cameras are on.


When are school bus cameras checked? A review of the footage is necessary if there is a suspicion, an allegation. Completed reviews also occur if there's footage of a possible passing violation.


Do school bus cameras get checked? A review of the footage is necessary if there is a suspicion, an allegation. Completed reviews also occur if there's footage of a possible passing violation.


When are school bus cameras checked? A review of the footage is necessary if there is a suspicion, an allegation. Completed reviews also occur if there's footage of a possible passing violation.


Can school bus cameras see in dark? Yes, they can see in the dark because of the capabilities using infra-red. There infra-red is good at detecting objects not the colors of objects though. Stop sign cameras in darkness show every car as grey.


Do school bus cameras have night vision? The 720 and 1080k school bus cameras that claim to have “superior night vision.” aren't being honest. School bus cameras use infrared illumination. This means that they're capable of seeing objects in the dark. But, they aren’t able to display colors of objects though. Stop sign cameras in darkness show every car as grey. The wording “superior” falls short of reality, but yes they can still capture images and video at night.


Did you know? The Gardian Angel shows cameras the actual color of offending vehicles. This is a rule in some states to prosecute. Now that’s what I call a true meaning of the word “superior”.

Do school bus cameras record all the time? Yes. Anytime the bus is running up to ten minutes after the engine shuts down it is recording.


When do school bus cameras start recording? They record when the bus starts and some opt to continue to record 10 minutes after key is off. They are not like some traffic light cameras that flash. Older camera models may blink red while recording. Newer cameras models do not have a recording light.


When do school bus cameras activate? They activate when the bus starts. Some districts choose to continue to record up to 10 minutes after the engine stops.


Do school bus cameras have audio? Yes, interior school bus cameras may include audio monitoring. This helps deter thefts, and helps resolve various disputes of assaults and allegations. When you research your options there's a few things you may consider if you want audio. Look for words like “microphone built in” “complete audio coverage” or “channel of audio”. Audio is not a standard feature for all school bus cameras right now. Please know that it may cost a little more to have the audio feature along with the video recording.


Do school bus cameras flash? Because I have never experienced this issue, I researched this question. Based upon my research, the answer is no. Neither interior school bus cameras nor stop arm cameras flash. The school bus cameras activate as soon as the bus driver starts the engine. The cameras remain active sometimes until up to 10 minutes after the engine stops. Stop arm cameras make a special note to record when then stop arm extends. They are not like some traffic light cameras that flash. Older camera models may blink red while recording. Newer cameras models do not have a recording light. You'll have to wait around 30 – 90 days to see if a notice of violation shows up in your mail.

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