Motorists might want to think twice before blowing past a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, because BusPatrol is on its way to Warren County.
At its Monday, Sept. 14 regular meeting, the Warren County School District Board of Directors entered into a five-year agreement with BusPatrol to install internal and external cameras on buses used by the district.
Just two weeks into the school year, there have already been instances of motorists failing to stop for buses.
“I have heard from bus drivers that they have had vehicles run through the flashing red lights at their stops,” Transportation Manager Mike Kiehl said.
The external cameras will help identify vehicles that fail to stop.
BusPatrol’s mission is to “create a culture of responsibility and awareness on the road. We aim to make the journey to and from school safer,” according to its website. “Through educating drivers and correcting behavior through stop-arm enforcement, we can see a day where there are no illegal passings on the road.”
That safer journey comes at no cost to the district.
“Bus Patrol reached out to me after the new legislation of Act 38 Title 75 passed in Pennsylvania,” Kiehl said. “The fact that Bus Patrol is willing to put cameras on the school buses at no cost to the district made them very appealing.”
Kiehl told the board at its Aug. 31 special meeting that bids had been put out for a camera system before schools were closed in March, and that the “cheapest bid was over $160,000.”
According to the agreement, fees “will be paid from the civil penalties collected from the operation of the BusPatrol System, as provided for by the Stop Arm Law.”
For each $300 fine, local law enforcement and the Pennsylvania School Bus Safety Grant Program Account will each receive $25, the district will get $100 and $150 will go to BusPatrol for installation and maintenance of its equipment.
The district’s share of gross revenue will cover BusPatrol’s $85 monthly technology fee. If the revenue is insufficient to cover the cost, fees will roll over to the next month.
The agreement states that, if terminated, “any balance of unpaid Technology Fees shall be forgiven and shall not be owed by the School District.” Board members asked for addition of specific language so no fees are owed regardless of how the agreement ends.
The board unanimously passed the item, pending that language change.