Flashing strobe lights would be better on school buses than cameras

Posted 8/9/19

Just recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law allowing NYS School Districts to install swing arm STOP sign cameras on their school buses. These cameras will record the vehicles and …

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Flashing strobe lights would be better on school buses than cameras

Posted

Just recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law allowing NYS School Districts to install swing arm STOP sign cameras on their school buses. These cameras will record the vehicles and the license plates of drivers who illegally pass school buses which have stopped with their STOP signs extended and Red warning lights flashing to allow students to board or exit the bus. The video evidence thus gained would be turned over to the cognizant law enforcement agency for appropriate ticketing action against the registered owner of the offending vehicle.

However beneficial the intent of this investment in greater bus student safety may be, there are some serious pitfalls to the effort.

First, the registered owner of the vehicle may not be driving or even in the offending vehicle at that time, requiring unnecessary time and effort to prove such absence as well as identify the actual driver for prosecution. Next, the camera may not have a crystal clear view - i.e. dirty/broken lens, snow/ice covered or camera mechanical problems preventing correct operation which will incorrectly identify a miscreant vehicle/driver, further causing incorrect law enforcement processing.

A better way to prevent student injuries or fatalities would be to require bus manufacturers to install bright flashing strobe lights in the headlights and taillights of buses.

This will bring a better attention getting device down to driver eye level rather than just the bus’s roof line mounted red warning lights which are being ignored. Flashing strobe technology is already in use in emergency vehicles - police cars, fire trucks, ambulances as well as other roadside assistance vehicles such as tow trucks and general road service vehicles. Eye level flashing strobes will increase the chances of vehicle drivers observing the stopped bus and obey the law to make a complete stop while the bus is loading or unloading students rather than just camera record a tragedy as it happens.

— Bob Balick, Rome 

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