ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–Onslow County Schools is trying out new equipment it hopes will make taking the school bus safer.
On Wednesday, 213 county school bus drivers received training on using extended stop arms. It’s all part of a pilot program that also includes 8 cameras per bus.
“We probably have about 3,000 violations per year,” Mike Henderson, transportation director for OCS, said. “This is for the safety of the kids of Onslow County.”
The cameras are located on the front and back of each stop sign, allowing officials to see the face of the driver and the car’s license plate.
Four cameras will be placed on the arm, with one inside the bus facing the road, two facing students and one on the driver.
The additional stop sign adds an extra 6.5 feet to the length of the arm, making the total length 8 feet.
“There’s a 50 to 90% decrease in the counties that already have the extended stop arm in operation,” Mary Suzan, extended stop arm trainer, said.
Suzan is also a bus driver and knows first hand the dangers that drivers passing illegally pose to students’ safety.
“I was being passed illegally on a daily basis,” she said. “With the addition of the extended stop arm, I can say my route has improved.”
This year, Onslow County Schools purchased 27 extended stop arms. Stop arm cameras costs between $1,000 and $4,000.
The school system is hoping to use civil penalties assessed from drivers who pass stopped school buses to buy additional safety features in the future.
The cameras will be installed within the next week.