Staff writer T. Keung Hui covers Wake County schools.
Stop-arm cameras on few Wake buses
The Wake County school system is lagging behind school districts like Johnston County in using stop arm cameras to deter motorists from illegally passing stopped school buses.
Statistics released last week (http://bit.ly/1q2tA5Z) by the state Department of Public Instruction show that Wake, like many districts in the state, has only installed stop arm camera systems on two buses. Of the state’s 13,303 buses, only 482 are equipped with stop arm cameras. Johnston County has the most with 92.
Last year, the General Assembly appropriated $1.38 million so that nearly all of the state’s 115 school districts would have at least two buses equipped with a stop arm camera system. The cameras have been used, as of September 2013, to prosecute 77 motorists around the state.
Derek Graham, section chief of transportation services for DPI, said that some school districts have been more aggressive than others in finding money to equip their buses with the camera systems. He said it costs $3,000 per bus, which would cost more than $2.7 million to install one on each of Wake’s more than 900 buses.
With the start of classes for traditional-calendar schools, state and local officials have been reminding motorists to be careful of all the extra bus traffic and bus riders.
One day last school year, bus drivers counted 3,153 vehicles (http://bit.ly/1p7luDK) that illegally passed their buses while they were stopped.
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