Williamsburg-James City County (WJCC) Schools is partnering with BusPatrol and local law enforcement to improve school bus safety for students when they return to school on August 30.
More than 150 WJCC Schools buses are now equipped with the BusPatrol 360° Student Safety Platform. Safety and technology upgrades include stop-arm cameras to deter drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses as well as 360-degree safety cameras (interior, windshield, rearview, and sideload cameras) and GPS. The district is also the first to implement BusPatrol’s new wide-angle interior cameras. School transportation officials can now access all of this data and more through BusPatrol’s secure cloud software.
“Every time a car passes a stopped school bus, the driver is endangering the lives of our children,” said John Lambusta, WJCC Schools director of transportation. “Data suggests that drivers illegally pass school buses more than 300 times a month in Williamsburg and James City County. It’s time to put the brakes on this reckless behavior.”
According to reports from WJCC Schools’ bus drivers, there were 2,207 unofficial violations in the local community from September 2019 to March 2020. With the enhanced technology from BusPatrol and the support of local law enforcement agencies, the division hopes to decrease the number of incidents this school year.
The equipment, installation, and maintenance are provided to the school division at zero cost. The program is entirely violator funded, meaning that the drivers that ignore school bus stopping laws and put children at risk, fund the technology that protects them.
“Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools has taken a proactive step to ensure that students return to school safely this August,” Jean Souliere, CEO and Founder at BusPatrol said. “BusPatrol’s suite of technology is designed to protect students at every moment of their journey to school. Our new wide-angle interior camera will give student transportation officials better visibility and empower them to respond to safety incidents that happen on the bus in real-time.”
According to Virginia DMV, drivers must:
- stop for stopped school buses with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign when approaching from any direction
- remain stopped until everyone is clear and the bus moves again
- stop whenever the bus is loading or unloading passengers, even if the lights and stop sign are not activated
If a school bus is on the opposite side of a median or barrier, motorists aren’t required to stop; however, drivers should be prepared for students exiting the school bus and crossing into their lanes. The penalty for a first-time violation is $250.