Somerset installs camera to catch drivers passing school bus
September 25, 2015
There’s a new camera on one of Somerset County’s school buses aimed at catching those who drive past the stopped bus. But Somerset County Sheriff Ronnie Howard said he’ll be happy if nobody violates the law and gets fined.
He wants people to rethink passing a school bus: It’s not worth a child’s life.
Leo Lawson, spokesman for Somerset County public schools, said the buses already have warning lights, a stop sign that comes out and an extending arm. This camera only adds to the safety, and the school system is hoping to have additional cameras installed, he said.
“We believe that it will be a deterrent to people driving past the school bus,” Lawson said.
Howard said Friday that the county received a free demo model to use from Zen-tinel, a Pennsylvania company, and it was installed on Bus 45 that same week. That’s William Handy’s bus –– it gets passed regularly on Route 413, Howard said.
The test period is two months long, but Howard would like to have the cameras on the four buses that are often passed, he said.
Zen-tinel’s camera –– which is about $2,400 to purchase without recurring fees –– can also be moved around to different buses if needed, Howard said.
He and Gregory Sutton, supervisor of transportation and operations for Somerset County, are looking into getting grant funding for the cameras.
The camera comes on when the red lights of the bus come on. When a driver passes the bus a civil citation with a $125 fee will be sent to the vehicle’s registered owner, according to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.
Lawson said this is a positive thing. “It’s too late if a student is killed by somebody not obeying the rule,” he said.
By Vanessa Junkin, www.delmarvanow.com