Virginia Beach school buses just got outfitted with new cameras

(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

Virginia Beach City Public Schools has added exterior cameras to 100 of its buses to curb illegal passing of stopped school buses and to keep students safe as they are getting on or off the bus.

The cameras are designed to capture pictures and videos of motorists illegally passing when stop-arms are extended and red lights are flashing, according to a news release from VBCPS.

Under state law, drivers approaching a school bus are prohibited in passing if the bus’s stop-arm is extended or its red lights are flashing.

Even if the red lights have only begun flashing and the stop-arm is not yet fully extended, drivers are still required to stop until all students have finished loading or unloading and the school bus is back in motion.

An exception to the rule is if a driver’s vehicle is separated from a school bus by a solid barrier or median.

In the first phase of the camera implementation, 100 buses were outfitted with the exterior cameras, school officials said.

Both the VBCPS and Virginia Beach Police Department will monitor the program to evaluate the system and determine whether additional personnel is needed before additional cameras are installed, according to the news release.

The cameras are activated by sensors when a the stop-arm is deployed, and the camera can detect a vehicle passing in any direction and capture license plates as well as the vehicle’s GPS location.

Images will be reviewed by police, and the driver could be fined $250.

“This is a national problem, and if we can do something to prevent a single tragedy we will,” said VBCPS Superintendent Aaron Spence. “We hope that no citations are issued. We hope that motorists choose to always stop. It only takes a minute or so out of a driver’s time for children to get on or off the bus safely.”

The camera installation has been made possible by the division’s ongoing partnership with the city and police.

For more information about the division’s bus fleet, visit vbschools.com

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