New cameras installed in Lebanon school buses to help protect kids

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Drivers running past stopped school buses in Lebanon are finding themselves caught on camera and facing fines of $235.50.

Since school started, police have written more stop arm violations than they did during all of last year. They believe new cameras on school buses are protecting kids and helping save lives.

At just one bus stop, the newly installed cameras caught five drivers running right past the extended arm.

"They're not even thinking about stopping," said Lebanon school police officer, John Voohis. "They didn't even hit the break. They kept going like it isn't even there."

The video shows numerous students getting the bus. Fortunately, they weren't crossing the street. If they had, Voorhis believe it would have been tragic. "Let's put it that way," he added.

Lebanon schools spent more than $30,000 putting cameras on its entire fleet of buses.

In the five weeks since school started, more than 20 stop arm violations have been recorded.

So far, Voohis has mailed nearly a dozen tickets to the vehicle's registered owners.

"It actually surprised me because that many people are blowing through stop signs," Voorhis said.

The cameras capture critical evidence bus drivers often can't. The video shows the vehicle's make and color, as well as the license plate number and hopefully, the driver's face.

School Transportation Director, Becky Nichols, reviews the videos and passes them on to police.

When asked if she's able to see the driver's faces, she said, yes, occasionally. "Depending on the lighting and the sunshine," said Nichols.

The drivers fill out incident reports and help out by getting drivers' descriptions, and obtaining that information is important.

To make the tickets stick, police may have to prove who was behind the wheel.

While the camera's work, the question is whether the evidence will stand up in court. School police and administrators will find out early next month when the first group of drivers accused of ignoring school bus stop arms go before a judge.

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