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Ohio Wants School Bus Cameras

WHEELING -- Whether you might notice it or not, a new type of school bus surveillance camera could be watching you.

"It isn't a deterrent trying to trap someone, we're trying to get awareness and stop before something would happen, protect the children," Ohio County Schools Transportation Director Gary Kestner.

Ohio County Schools has been working long and hard to combat the big problem of motorists passing school buses.

The Wheeling Police Department, Ohio County Sheriff's Office, Board of Education and prosecutor's office were at Ritchie elementary on Monday to talk about installing a new type of camera on the county's school buses.

"We're planning to do that now to move forward after the May 9 meeting with their approval and with the purchase of several cameras and will move from bus to bus," Ohio County Schools Superintendent George Krelis said.

Right now, the county has the new camera on just one bus. The camera was used as a test to see how it could catch drivers disobeying the law. After proving effective, Ohio County Schools Transportation Department would like to see more added on.

"About 28 inches below the stop sign on the school bus, you'll see a little white box there about the size of a postcard and extend three inches from the bus," Kestner said.

If approved, the school district will get nine cameras, used on buses in highly trafficked areas like National Road.

"The use of the camera will help identify drivers by using film extracted from the camera, and to get a good solid picture of the violator," Wheeling Police Sgt. Phil Redford said.

If a violator is caught passing by a bus or ignoring its stop sign or cross arm, they could face up to a $500 fine, up to six months in jail or lose their license.

In order to prosecute, the Ohio County court system must have evidence.

"We will have testimony from the bus driver, video, license plates. We are confident that we will have cases to prove in court," Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith said.

While Krelis said the county has never dealt with an injury, they do not want to take the risk.

"We don't want that type of news story in Ohio County. We don't want a child hurt when departing the bus," Krelis said.

Article Source: WTRF

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