Mills School District implements cameras on school buses

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NEW YORK MILLS, N.Y. (WUTR) — Back to school is right around the corner and the New York Mills Union Free School District will be the first to implement school bus cameras this year.

“A couple years ago Verra Mobility reached out to the school districts in the area offering to put stop-arm cameras on our buses and then obviously with COVID the conversation took a back seat for a while and now it’s kind of back in the forefront,” said Joanne Shelmidine, New York Mills Superintendent of Schools.

The camera activates when the bus stops and the arm goes out. It acts as a license plate reader and will capture the plate number of the vehicle. The data is fed back to the vendor. Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol explains that this is then sent over to the deputy sheriff who each day will review the footage of the cars passing the stopped bus.

“Because we have to have a police officer witnesses this violation and they’re witnessing it on the camera on the video footage. and if it is in fact the car that passed that bus under this new law we do not have to go look for the driver anymore we merely cite the registered owner of the vehicle with a summons in the mail and its a 250 dollar fine for the first offense,” said Maciol.

The cameras will not cost the school district anything. The vendor will receive a percentage of the fine and the remaining portion will go to Oneida County. In 2019, the state of New York averaged 50,000 cars a day that passed school buses. So. the most important factor of this new safety protocol is keeping children safe as they travel to and from school.

“Every day our drivers report people passing our school busses even though the lights are on and the stop arm is out and so any way that we can make the transportation of our students safer I think is well worthwhile,” said Schelmidine.

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