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Canton City Schools add cameras to 77 district buses

Posted at 9:38 AM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 09:38:28-04

CANTON, Ohio  — Every year, school buses transport more than 25 million children to and from school, according to the American School Bus Council.

In the past few years, school districts have focused on installing cameras to catch vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus. The push for more cameras on board comes as school officials say these incidents happen more frequently than you might think.

“It's every day. People are looking at their cell phones or just in a hurry,” said Canton City School Transportation Director Nicole Kiser. “They pass us all the time.”

Canton City Schools recently equipped each of its 77 school buses with six new cameras, both inside and outside to monitor what happens on board and crack down on any violators.

The outside camera has two lenses, one facing forward and another facing backward, allowing it to record any motorist who illegally passes. Another camera mounted to the windshield on the inside of the bus points forward to get a view of anything in front of the bus.

“A lot of people will pass us, and they'll yell at the driver when the driver honks the horn,” Kiser said.

The new system is provided by a company called Pro-Vision and comes at a cost of roughly $200,000

Ohio law states that the driver of the vehicle must be identifiable at the time of the violation, otherwise law enforcement can only issue a warning. The new cameras can capture video from as far as 30 feet away from the bus which will allow the district to identify violators.

“I've had somebody we were unloading at an elementary school, and we had somebody pass on the right and I had a driver grab the little girl by her backpack passing on the right unloading at an elementary school,” Kiser said.

The new technology replaced a dated system that caused plenty of headaches for the district. Drivers can push a button on board and the system will automatically record a three-minute capture that will be instantly downloaded to a central server via Wi-Fi when the bus returns to the garage.

“The reliability (of the old system) was really bad, and sometimes when people would call in to actually get the information and principals would get it, that wouldn't work,” Kiser said.

The school district looked at as many as six different companies before settling with Pro-Vision. With as many as 5.800 students riding about 5,000 miles total every day, school officials wanted to spare no expense with the upgrade.

“I just think that we needed to do something more about it,” Kiser said. “This made us feel so much better about it because it doesn't surprise us. And I don't feel like that's a trend that's going to change.”