Greece CSD joins other districts in new bus camera system

School Bus Cameras

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GREECE, N.Y. — When a school bus stops, so should you. That’s the law, but it’s often hard to enforce. To help catch drivers who blow past a school bus stop arm,  Greece Central School District is installing external cameras that automatically catch drivers in the act.

The free system is called Bus Patrol, and Greece administrators joined forces with local leaders to announce the program’s launch this morning. The announcement comes just days after an unrelated crash involving a Greece CSD bus on North Greece Road.

Bus Patrol has been present in three other districts — Hilton, Webster, and East Irondequoit — since last fall.

In a roughly four month period, there were 2,000 instances of someone passing or trying to pass a school bus stop arm. Monroe County gave out 1,200 citations and 800 warnings during that time.

“You see it happen occasionally but never in my wildest dreams did I think that in just a few months in just a few school districts we’d see two thousand,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said. “Two thousand.”

Here’s how it works: The Bus Patrol cameras automatically flag drivers who may have broken the law. The company and then the county both review and if the driver was illegally passing the bus, they’re on the hook for $250. 

That fine increases to $275 and $300 for repeat offenders. The goal is to eliminate the problem entirely. 

At the announcement, Bello said 19 kids die in the United States each year from drivers ignoring school bus stop arms. 

“Take a moment to let that sink in.” he said. “Nintettn young people whose parents, guardians putting them on a school bus, assuming the safety of their kids […] Are tragically killed by a driver going past a school bus when that red light is out and the arm is flashing.”

The system doesn’t cost taxpayers, as it’s funded by those fines. Bus Patrol — which operates in several states — takes a chunk of the fines as their fee.

Bus Patrol CEO and Pittsford Native Justin Meyers said the company does see a decrease in offenders once the program is active for a while.