Alabama School Buses First in Nation to Use Stop Arm Cameras

A new law has been created to allow cameras on school buses in Alabama, starting this month.

School systems statewide now have the option of installing cameras on the stop arms of school buses to monitor cars that illegally pass them. Schools in counties such as Jackson and Limestone are already looking to invest in the technology.

By law, all cars are required to stop for any school bus with its stop arm out and red lights flashing. But that hasn’t prevented drivers from passing anyway, and that poses danger to both other drivers and students.

“Last year, on survey, there were 1,361 illegal passings,” said Kevin Snowden, program coordinator of pupil transportation for the Alabama Department of Education. “It’s a problem.”

“Now, the stop-arm camera law says a school system can contract with a third-party carrier to monitor the stop-arm cameras on the school buses they already have, and that company could send the citation to the individual,” Snowden continued. “If I ran a stop sign, someone would pick it up on a camera and I would be sent a $300 fine.”

Although these cameras will be playing a part in increasing traffic safety, a recent accident has even more individuals calling for tighter security on the road.

An Alabama woman was jailed without bond on Sunday after the car she was driving crossed into oncoming traffic near Ga. 140 and Buttrum Road and hit another car, reports stated.

Catarina Miguel-Felipe of Birmingham, AL, was unlicensed and driving drunk with five children as passengers when she hit the car at around 12:45 a.m. Sunday.

The other driver suffered a broken leg in the crash.

In addition to being charged with felony and serious injury by vehicle, she is facing five misdemeanor counts of endangering a child, and one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while unlicensed, and failure to maintain lane.

Approximately 35% of work-related injuries occur as a result of machine accidents every year, and automobile accidents are no less dangerous or fatal.

Alabama’s school bus camera law may help apprehend those guilty of unsafe driving practices, as well as save lives in the process.

Last year, a six-year-old in Tuscaloosa was hit by a car as the child was trying to reach a school bus. Law enforcement confirmed that the car had illegally passed the bus when it struck the child, who managed to avoid any life-threatening injuries.

Still, a call to action was heard, and driver awareness of the stop arm cameras could be the difference between a car stopping or breaking the law.