Mount Olive NJ school bus security cameras to catch passing drivers
Motorists are being warned in Mount Olive, where the school district will install multiple security cameras on all 72 buses in its fleet to catch those passing by buses stopped in violation of the law.
The announcement comes after a pilot program has generated 72 motor vehicle offenses since April from just four buses equipped with cameras. Almost $ 20,000 in fines have been collected for these offenses, which can cost drivers up to $ 300 each.
“Motorists pass stopped school buses everywhere, in residential areas and side streets, not just on Route 46,” said James Carifi, a retired police captain from Parsippany hired this year as director of the district security.
The cost of equipping each bus is $ 3,200, said Superintendent Robert Zywicki. The money from the state security grant was used to cover expenses.
The cameras are expected to be installed by the end of January.
“Every morning thousands of parents in Mount Olive entrust their children to the school district, expecting them to be as safe and secure as possible,” he said. “It’s a pact that we take very seriously. I myself am a parent of school-aged children and I know nothing is more important.
The camera systems are specially designed to record vehicles passing in front of buses with flashing lights on and stop arms extended.
Bus cameras continuously record digital video which is automatically uploaded to a cloud-based server when each bus returns to the depot.
When a bus driver witnesses a violation, he presses a dash button that marks the event. Carifi reviews the tagged video daily.
In cases where a vehicle illegally passes a bus, video and vehicle information, including make, model and license plate number, is sent to the Township of Mount Olive Municipal Court, which reviews the documentation and issues a summons.
District officials say the camera initiative is a direct result of concerns expressed by Mount Olive bus drivers who discussed the frequency of violations with Carifi during safety protocol meetings.
The district has approximately 4,701 students 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.