Cameras catch drivers speeding past stopped school buses in Botetourt County

Program working so well more cameras are being added

BOTETOURT Co. – Speeding past a stopped school bus could get you a ticket, even if there's not a police officer nearby. Botetourt County is adding more cameras to catch people passing buses.

"Our student safety is the most important thing we do. School systems educate students, but you can't educate a child unless they are safe getting to and from school," said Chris Morris, the Botetourt County Public Schools operations manager.

About three years ago they started installing cameras on the side of two school buses driving students on Route 220 and Route 460.

"The reason we picked those routes was because those are four lanes and that's where a lot of incidents happen. Cars are passing stopped buses at a high rate of speed and we were unable to do anything to prevent it or to follow up to insure it didn't happen again," said Morris.

That's changed now. The cameras record people passing, catching license plate numbers. The school system works with the Botetourt County Sheriff's Office to get people charged. It's working so well, they ordered five more cameras.

"As time has gone on drivers have become more aggressive with wanting to be in a hurry or distracted driving. We're having cars pass us in places where they haven't always passed us before," said Morris. "If someone were to hit a bus while a child was not properly sitting down the child could be seriously injured or killed. We don't want that to happen."

In 2015, before cameras were installed, only three people were charged. In 2016, there were 24 charges. Last year, there were 17 charges.

Cameras are $455 and added to the system that's already installed on all 90 buses. As the budget allows, they would like to buy more cameras.


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