Austin ISD launches stop-arm bus cameras

The cameras will record people who illegally pass buses. (KEYE)

The Austin Independent School District Thursday launches a new safety program to cut down on drivers who pass stopped school buses.

The district is rolling out its first phase of cameras mounted on school buses to catch drivers illegally passing. Thirty buses are armed with the cameras right now; AISD will continue installing the cameras until all AISD regular route buses have them.

Austin parents told KEYE-TV they think the cameras are a good way to prevent tragedy.

"I see people pass buses up all the time. I see kids that are in danger," Gloria Vera-Bedolla said.

"And I have children of my own so I agree."

According to AISD, 7,600 vehicles illegally pass stopped school buses each day in Texas. Under the law, all vehicles in all directions must stop when a bus' lights are flashing and the stop-arm is out, unless they are on the other side of a physical median.

"I've seen people run past those stop signs for the kids," David Simmons, another Austin parent, said.

"So I think it's a great safety feature to have that in place to prevent some bad things from happening to these kids."

The cameras will automatically detect a passing vehicle in either direction once the stop-arm goes up. The camera then records video of the incident and captures still photos of the vehicle's license plate.

After that, AISD law enforcement review the video and photos and can issue a ticket. The fine for a first-time offender is $300.

AISD is among several Central Texas school districts arming their buses with the cameras. Eanes ISD, San Marcos and Georgetown also have the stop-arm cameras.

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