Motorists are on notice in Mount Olive, where the school district will install multiple security cameras on the 72 buses in its fleet to catch those who pass stopped buses in violation of the law.
The announcement comes after a pilot program generated 72 motor vehicle violations since April from just four camera-equipped buses. Nearly $20,000 in fines has been collected from those violations, which can cost drivers up to $300 each.
“Motorists are passing stopped school buses everywhere, residential areas and side streets, not just on Route 46,” said James Carifi, a retired Parsippany police captain hired this year as the district’s director of security.
The cost to equip each bus is $3,200, Superintendent Robert Zywicki said. Security grant money from the state was used to cover the expense.
The cameras are expected to be installed by the end of January.
“Every morning thousands of Mount Olive parents entrust the school district with their children, expecting them to be as safe and secure as possible,” he said “That’s a pact we take very seriously. I’m a parent of school-aged kids myself and I know nothing is more important.”
The camera systems are specifically designed to record vehicles that pass buses that have their flashing lights activated and stop-arms extended.
The bus cameras continually record digital video that is uploaded automatically to a cloud-based server when each bus returns to the depot.
When a bus driver witnesses a violation, the driver presses a dash button that marks the event. Carifi reviews the marked video daily.
In cases where a vehicle illegally passes a bus, the video and vehicle information including the make, model, and plate number are sent to the Mount Olive Township Municipal Court which reviews the documentation and issues a summons.
District officials say the camera initiative is a direct result of concern expressed by Mount Olive bus drivers who discussed the frequency of violations with Carifi during safety protocol meetings.
The district has a student population of about 4,701 in six schools: Sandshore, Mountain View, Chester M. Stephens and Tinc Road elementary schools, Mount Olive Middle School and Mount Olive High School.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on Morristown Daily Record: Mount Olive NJ school buses security cameras to catch passing drivers