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Richmond parents hope new bus camera system will keep kids safe

RICHMOND, Va. -- Drivers could get a $250 if they get caught illegally passing a stopped school bus thanks to a new camera system installed on all Richmond Public Schools buses.

The brand new stop-arm camera system features 13 cameras total: 4 inside and 9 outside. It’ll give a 360-degree view of what’s going on outside bus. Previously, RPS buses had just three cameras inside.

The goal is to keep children safe as they get on and off the bus.

“I’d like to think it's going to make an impact if parents know they are being filmed,” parent Rich Haugg said.

Camera on school bus stop arm.

Camera on school bus stop arm.

It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with its arm out and flashing lights on unless the driver and bus are separated by a physical median. The cameras will record video and images of cars and license plates. The company that installed and runs the cameras will determine if there’s a violation. If there is, it will be submitted to Richmond police electronically. Officers will determine whether or not to issue a ticket.

Alex Derhovhannessinn said he is on board. His oldest daughter will ride the bus to Fox Elementary next year.

"I think the safety of our children should be foremost on everyone's minds. So if we can keep our children safe, know what's happening on our buses, the better off our children will be, the better off our bus drivers will be, the better off our schools will be as well."

The new system also has a panic button that the school bus driver can hit for help. It will give Richmond officials access to a livestream of what’s going on on the bus. RPS leaders say this will be safer and more efficient way to respond to emergency situations.

School bus

School bus

 

“It lets the driver continue to operate the bus without having to worry about getting on the radio, communicating on the radio, and still watching while driving the bus and still watching the behavior that is taking place to my back, “ said Tommy Kranz when the new system was first unveiled in April.

"The bus drivers have their hands full enough taking care of all the kids, so the more we can do to keep our kids safe and our residents safe, the better it is for the city,” said Derhovhannessinn.

RPS leaders said the system will pay for itself by the money collected from the fines.