DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Cameras mounted on school buses are intended to keep kids safe by catching drivers who break the law. Many North Texas buses are equipped with them, yet some cities aren’t using them because it’s illegal.
Dallas County Schools use the cameras and have caught thousands of videos of drivers speeding past the buses’ stop signs. In one instance, a driver behind the wheel of an SUV ignores the stop sign and slams right into a student. Since October 2012, Dallas County School has cited 58,000 drivers for breaking the law, resulting in $8 million in fines.
“There is one violation every trip on the average,” says Dallas County Schools President Larry Duncan. Dallas County Schools runs the buses for nearly all Dallas County districts.
“We have the capability now through technology to protect all of our kids. That’s what this is about.”
While cameras mounted on buses works well in Dallas, it’s not working at all in cities like Irving because there is no ordinance permitting their use.
Duncan says the extra safety measure is useless if a city does not have an ordinance because Dallas County Schools can’t use the recordings to cite drivers breaking the law. Dallas, Coppell, Carrollton and Lancaster all have ordinances allowing the school bus cameras within city limits.
“We have a certified police officer, a peace officer who reviews the video and OKs the citation,” says Duncan. Those citations are $300 each.
The school bus cameras never stop recording, but in cities like Irving those recordings cannot be used against drivers.
The City of Irving released this statement in response to this issue:
“Irving enforces existing traffic laws relating to school buses. Additionally, we are evaluating whether Texas laws support the use of cameras on school buses to supplement current enforcement measures.”
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