TOLLESON, Ariz. - A Valley school district is rolling out technology to keep students safe and tackle a specific problem when it comes to school buses: drivers ignoring the stop-arm signs.
Tolleson Union High School District is one of the first districts to equip its school buses with more than just a sign. Transportation director James West says the new safety measure aims to alert more drivers.
“One of the most important features that we're going to outfit our buses with is the stop-arm camera, the purposes and the reason for that is we feel that we just cannot put a price tag on a student,” West said.
The "price tag" on the camera packages is roughly $4,500, but that includes eight motion-sensor cameras mounted in and around the buses.
The motion sensors are triggered as soon as the stop arm is out and the red flashing lights are on. That span stretches from the front of the bus all the way to the back -- a range of 40 feet capturing all the activity in between.
“We know when the event happened, when it occurred, where it occurred, which bus route, you know which bus it was on and we get all that,” West added.
The information from the dozens of buses outfitted with the photo tools is sent directly to West via email. It alerts school officials about cars flying through the area snapping anyone who speeds by.
“Cameras are placed in the front of the bus and one is placed in the rear of the bus," West said, "so if anybody passes inside that zone while that stop arm is activated it'll take a quick snap shot, some photo shots, video shots and it is time stamped and it is GPS tracked at the same time."
District officials hope Arizona legislation is passed, in order to turn the data collected over to authorities, ultimately to ensure the safety of school bus drivers and students.