South Bend Community Schools adding stop arm cameras on school buses

(photo supplied / Indiana State Police)

While lawmakers in the Indiana General Assembly look into ways they can improve the safety of you children on the school bus, a northern Indiana school corporation is being proactive.

The transportation director for South Bend Community Schools said they are moving forward on a plan to place cameras on the stop arms of all 209 school busses in its fleet in an effort to catch people who do not stop for a stopped school bus.

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“The increase in stop arm violators is alarming and it’s getting worse,” said Juan Martinez-Legus.

He said it’s difficult to catch violators right now without cameras because a bus driver’s first priority is to have eye on where the kids are when they are getting on the school bus. He said they aren’t able to do that and jot down a license plate number of a violator.

“That’s where the camera comes in,” Martinez-Legus said. “The camera records the license plate and make of the car. We then use that video in a report we submit to prosecutors.”

That’s the primitive way of doing it for now. In the state legislature, lawmakers are looking to pass legislation to make it legal for these stop arm cameras to at as “traffic cameras.”

In a nutshell the automated camera would take a snap shot of a violators license plate and then immediately send it to police without having to manually hand over the video evidence.

The question in South Bend now is how to pay for the cameras. Martinez-Legus says for their plan for the basic cameras they are using “money that the school system is putting together to make this happen.”