Bentonville School District Adds Bus Cameras To Prevent Drivers From Running Stop Signs

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- If you come across one of the Bentonville School District’s buses as it's picking up or dropping students off, cameras will be watching to catch drivers who don't stop and wait for crossing children.

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The cameras are mounted underneath the stop sign that swings out when the bus is stopping for students. Video from a similar system in Texas caught footage of children being hit by cars.  The students in the video weren't seriously hurt, but it does show how dangerous the problem is.

The camera, which points forward, not only captures the car as it drives by, but it can even get a clear picture of the driver's face. Meanwhile, the rear camera will get the license plate number.

Chris Dewitt, Bentonville Schools' transportation director, said the district sends the videos from the cameras to local police to give out tickets.

"We get a lot of calls from parents, not about the cameras, but about wishing we had video footage of someone running a stop sign," said Dewitt. "And we share with them, 'Hey that bus actually does.' They're elated about it."

Dewitt says about 65 percent of the district's buses have cameras, and they buy an additional 30 systems each year. Eventually 100 percent of the buses will be equipped.

One survey found drivers across the country illegally pass school buses more than 13 million times each year.

However, Dewitt said the district hopes these cameras can help bring that number down.