PA. – Red, flashing lights on a school bus are a direct signal to motorists to stop. Unfortunately, though, every basketball school knows the fear of dropping kids off at their end only to see vehicles speeding through the stop sign and the security arm. Now more local schools will be using new technology to reduce the number of motorists illegally crossing the school bus and putting children at risk.
“A lot of people would rather just run a stop sign than stop for these kids,” said Wiley Lopez, a bus driver in Delaware County. “I hate it. That could be my child or your child.”
Bus drivers can violate the law over and over again if there’s no traffic ticketing them, which is why Chichester schools along with Southeast Delaware County and the Norristown district are turning to BusPatrol.
BusPatrol is a Virginia-based company that installs cameras in school gymnasiums that can read the license plates of bus riders so they can issue $300 tickets through artificial intelligence technology called “Ava.”
“It can monitor up to 8 lanes of traffic in a variety of weather and lighting conditions. We are building content packages that are the last priority before law enforcement,” said BusPatrol’s CEO, Jean Souliere.
The “packages” include the video of the violator, so the police can determine if the law has actually been broken. If the police determine that the driver has broken the law, BusPatrol will issue a $300 ticket to the owner of the vehicle for the violation.
Jim Stewart, Director of Transportation for the Cistercian Public Schools, says he fully supports anything that will keep students safer.
“Anything the children are going to do is safer, and the bus off is great,” he said. “Unfortunately, there have been too many tragedies that have happened throughout the nation.”
BusPatrol, which says it works with 20 school districts across Pennsylvania, including five in the Philadelphia region, covers the cost of busing the bus and makes its money by cutting off funds passed to violators.
“These places cost absolutely nothing. 100 percent of the cost to install these programs is placed directly on the backs of those who break the law,” Souliere said.
The following programs will launch a public awareness campaign that will educate motorists on bus safety laws and teach children safety tips for driving and driving. School officials in Chichester say they plan to start using BusPatrol technology as early as 2023.