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Traffic Cameras On Public School Buses

Winchester City Council members have voted unanimously to put traffic cameras on public school buses.

Winchester, Va. - "It will eventually save lives," said Robert “Bob” Gallagher, a school bus driver for Winchester Public Schools for ten years.

Winchester Public Schools want to put a stop to the illegal passing of school buses, which they say is a huge problem.

"I’d say on a daily basis, I have anywhere between three and eight cars that pass me while my red lights are on" Gallagher said.

Cameras were given a test ride in March, and successfully caught 25 violations in 11 days.

"They cut right in front of me. And I hit the brake hard. Which then of course, you know, kids can get hurt too,” Gallagher said. “We always have a problem with the kids standing, especially the small kids in kindergarten.”

Before, police officers were only citing people that they were lucky enough to catch in the act.

“It had to have been captured by a police officer while it was happening,” said Executive Director for Winchester Public Schools, Kevin McKew. “So it was very sporadic. Now anytime, anyone passes a school bus with a stop-arm out, it will be captured on video and they will be subject to fines,” he said.

Installing the cameras won't cost the city anything, but they won't make any financial gains either. Money collected from violators would go into the pockets of the company contracted to install the cameras.

"It’s a serious problem. It really is, and I think it's a great thing getting these cameras. When somebody has to pay a $250 they're going to think twice about passing a school bus," said Gallagher.

If caught by the cameras, violators would have to pay the $250 fine. However, they would not incur any points to their driving record.

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