SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - People driving in Jefferson County should be more aware when approaching school buses this year. Recently the county made some major improvements to its transportation system.
"We decided this year that the biggest thing in my job and my employee's job is children's safety," said Robert Boylan, Coordinator of Transportation for Jefferson County.All the mainline buses now have five on-board cameras. Three see the front, middle and back of the bus. Another is on the front windshield that shows where the bus is going and where it has been. There's also one that shines over the driver to see what they are doing.
"The biggest thing about that camera is it also shines down the stairwell," Boylan said. "So if I see an angry parent or an unwanted person or an intruder try to board that bus, I have automatic digital cameras in there."
A new feature on the buses this year is the stop arm violation camera. If a vehicle chooses to run the stop sign, there are cameras that capture the front and back license plate.
The cameras store footage up to a full year in case officials need to go back and view something. The buses also feature digital radios that are connected directly to a 911 center and to the Sheriff's Office for emergency situations.
Along with that is a new GPS tracking system.
"They can go right to a TV screen and see where the bus is what street it's on, how fast it's going and the direction it's going," Boylan added. "So if we need the law enforcement, they all can converge on our buses immediately."All of the features are to ensure that parents feel safe and secure once their child steps on the school bus.
"We are going to do as much as we can to keep your children safe," Boylan said.
The county is in it's second school week and has already cited four people with the stop arm violation cameras.