New camera on Lebanon school bus catches drivers passing illegally

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LEBANON, Ind. - Across the state each day, thousands of drivers pass school buses letting kids on and off. Now, one central Indiana school district is hoping to catch those drivers in the act.

Two months ago, Lebanon Community Schools installed a camera on the outside of a bus in a high traffic area route. So far, the cameras have caught more than 14 drivers passing the bus with its stop arm out.

Bus driver Joyce Summers said she's seen cars, trucks, semis, even vehicles with business names on the outside pass her bus.

"I hate it,' she said. "They just don't want to slow down."

On April 25th, 2017, records from The Indiana Department of Education Office of School Transportation showed 2,280 drivers illegally passed stopped school buses. In Lebanon, one bus driver recalled a time when he had to grab a child's shirt as she was stepping off the bus to stop her from getting hit by a driver who blew past his sign.

One of the worst problem areas for drivers illegal passing buses in Lebanon is State Road 39 near I-65 in front of a gas station.

Cameras have been installed on the bus that passes through this route daily and they're already catching a lot of drivers breaking the law. The cameras record when the bus driver starts coming to a stop. In the video, you can clearly see cars passing as well as an indicator to show the arm is out.

Bus drivers can also push a button when they see a car illegally passing. It marks a spot on the recording that allows transportation department officials to easily go back and review. The video is then sent to the prosecutor's office to determine if a ticket is necessary.

"Most of them, unfortunately, are on their cell phones or looking down, looking at their radios," said Beck Nichols, Lebanon Community Schools Director of Transportation.

If installed on 39 buses, the price tag for the cameras is between $35,000 and $40,000. The district hopes to have the cameras installed on those buses by the start of the school year.

For passing a school bus in Boone County, tickets could be up to $260.

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