District Enforces Stopped Bus Cannot Be Passed Rule

District+Enforces+Stopped+Bus+Cannot+Be+Passed+Rule

By Shaina Selvaraju ’17

The school district has recently decided to add cameras to the outside of school buses in an effort to see if drivers are following the law to stop when the bus holds out its stop sign.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, approximately 28 states have found that more 88,000 vehicles illegally passes school buses in one day. That is roughly 16 million illegal passes a year nationally.

After receiving multiple reports and concerns from community members and bus drivers, the town has decided to install these cameras in order to monitor those who are driving around the school buses. “It has everything to do with protecting the safety of our students and making sure our motorist, when buses stop and have their stop arm out, that cars don’t pass ” Sandra Evangelista, the town Transportation Coordinator, said.

As of now, Evangelista is working with her staff to work out the terms with Redflex Student Guardian, the company that will install cameras and monitor the routes with live video. “We had a meeting so we could look at their product and their solution. We liked it, it’s working in other towns so we pursued a contract with them,” she said.

Scheduled to start in March, the town and Redflex, will begin a pilot program in order to see which routes have more illegal passers and how prevalent the issue is. In addition to this, the company will be working with the Westport Police Department. While drivers are told to write down license plate numbers, it is difficult to do so when the cars are driving away. By working with the monitoring company, it’ll be easier for the police to ticket those who break this law.

“I do know that some people do just blow through the stop sign that the buses put out. I think this would be helpful because just because a bus is stopped on one side of the road doesn’t mean that they are getting off on that side road. They could be crossing and you’d never known, someone could be trying to pass when a kid is trying to cross,” Kait Smithson ’17 said.