Stop arm cameras to be added to 17 new school buses in Carmel

CARMEL, Ind. – Carmel Clay Schools will be putting stop arm cameras on new buses this summer.

The district plans to add 17 buses to its fleet and all of them will have cameras. Additionally, every new bus moving forward will be equipped with cameras.

There will be one forward facing camera and two rear facing cameras on the buses.

The district hopes the cameras will catch drivers who fail to stop when kids get off and on the bus. They did have some cameras already but the district says this new technology will be more effective.

In one day in April, Carmel Clay Schools says more than 60 people drove past a stop arm on a school bus. That is at a rate of more than 11,000 violations per school year.

"It made me scared because what happens if a kid is crossing the street and they do not necessarily see the kid," said parent Brandi Wetherald.

Wetherald's son is in high school and he used to ride the bus. Now, she worries for other kids who still use it.

"It’s just like, take the time to stop," she said.

Superintendent Michael Beresford says the district is always looking to make its kids safer. Officials constantly look at routes to avoid making stops on busy streets.

"You see those lights and you pull your car over and you stop," said Beresford.

A tragedy in Rochester, Indiana last year impacted school communities across the state. Three siblings were killed at their bus stop. Investigators said the school bus' stop arm was deployed and warning lights were on.

Carmel Clay Schools hopes these cameras will encourage people to stop. If the video does catch you, police can hand you a ticket which could cost roughly $200.

"That evidence allows us to bring it into court and show who the driver is specifically," said Sergeant DJ Schoeff with Carmel police.

Sergeant Schoeff approves the district's move and thinks it will force more people to stop.

"If you are not sure, stopping is the right thing to do," he said.

Parents hope these cameras will keep kids safe by placing the consequence on the driver and not the student.

"Maybe it would make people think it is a big deal," said Wetherald.

The statehouse this session passed a bill that would make penalties even harsher if you pass a stopped school bus. Senate Bill 2 says a judge could even suspend your license for 90 days.It also lets school districts ask local governments to fund school bus cameras.

Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law Wednesday.

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