Hopewell school buses are en route to getting traffic cameras, in just a few months.
Under a proposed project, four cameras would be affixed to the driver's side of each bus.
The cameras take video and license plate shots of any driver illegally passing the bus when its stop sign is flashing. The cameras catch traffic moving in either direction. The owner of the car would be mailed a $250 ticket.
"I have 11 square miles in this city, and 11 square miles of worry with people passing school buses," said John Fahey, Superintendent for Hopewell schools.
Arizona-based company, Redflex Student Guardian, would pay to install the cameras and issue the tickets. Both the company and the city, would then get a percentage of the fine revenue. However, Fahey says that's not the motivation.
"My interest is making the streets and our buses safer for our kids," continued Fahey.
A trial run last school year hooked up three Hopewell buses with cameras, for a month. Those cameras recorded 69 illegal passes. Fahey says most of those violations involved Head Start children.
"These are the kids who are most vulnerable, when it comes to passing a bus," described Fahey, of some of the youngest students taking the bus.
Father of three, Dane Vaughn, says each of his children catch Hopewell schools buses, within a block from their home.
"I like to know that my kids are safe when they go to school…We should be more careful when children are involved, especially adults. What does it take to stop and wait?" said Vaughn, who is in favor of the cameras.
The Hopewell City Council still has to approve an ordinance, allowing the cameras. If that happens, Fahey says there'll be plenty of public notice. Hopewell police would also have to verify each traffic violation, before a summons is issued.
The school district hopes to have the cameras installed by the middle of this upcoming school year.
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