The safety of students has become a main concern in Ontario as countless cases of cars speeding past school buses have been recorded over the past few years. Now, one Ontario city has decided to implement a new strategy in attempts to stop those who pass buses that are stopped and letting off passengers. The city of Ottawa will be installing cameras on school buses to catch drivers who break the law.
As many of us already know, passing a school bus while it is stopped and has its stop arm extended is not only dangerous but also illegal.
Last month, the Ontario government announced that they were going to be implementing new strategies to limit the number of accidents that occur around school buses each year. During this announcement, they stated that one of these strategies would be to permit the use of cameras on the stop signs of school buses to catch reckless drivers.
According to CTV News, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said that this will be the first program of its kind in Ontario that equips school buses with cameras in attempts to catch drivers who illegally pass while the stop arm is extended.
These school buses in Ottawa will now be equipped with four separate cameras that will be placed on the outside of the vehicle. All of these cameras will be motion-detected and will activate when another vehicle passes the bus.
A 10-second video will be recorded and sent to a server where a police officer will be able to review the footage and determine whether or not a violation has been made.
If the officer determines that the driver's actions were illegal, within seven days a 'provincial offense notice' will be issued. This notice will include a minimum fine of $490 for a first offense. However, an Ottawa Police officer, Sgt. Mark Gatien told CBC that this notice will be issued to the owner of the vehicle rather than the person driving it at the time.
Ottawa launched a pilot of this program back in 2016 where they saw an average of five drivers a day illegally pass a school bus. They hope that with these cameras, they will be able to help keep students safe.
The official program will launch on Monday throughout the city.