Cameras aboard Tennessee school buses could soon catch drivers passing illegally
Soon every school bus in Tennessee will have cameras on board to catch drivers going around a stopped bus.
Legislators are trying to protect students from getting on and off the bus.
The bill was postponed in the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means committee on Tuesday.
School districts will still have to foot the bill for those cameras.
In the new contract between Hamilton County and the new transportation service, the First Student will provide the cameras in their bus fleet.
During the 2017-2018 school year in Tennessee, more than 1,100 drivers illegally passed a school bus, according to the state's fiscal review joint committee.
Corporal Sheila Strange with the Collegedale Police Department has been actively pulling people over for violating this law.
She says Tuesday morning alone, she stopped three people.
“We do it daily. We watch our school buses to make sure that the drivers are being safe around stop school buses,” said Sheila Strange.
Strange says not stopping when a bus puts out it stop sign can put students in danger.
She says there's a correct way to drive around a school bus.
“There's a divider in between you and the school bus whether that's concrete, grass or something that you can't drive on. Then you are able to pass a school bus,” said Strange.
Strange says she's glad lawmakers are taking the next step to keep our children safe.
She says she knows it's going to take some time for drivers to get used to the new initiative, but it will be worth it.
“I think this is specifically to get tag numbers of people that are passing school buses,” said Strange.
Violating this law is a Class "A" misdemeanor meaning drivers will get a citation.
“They are booked on the citation, get their fingerprints, and get their picture taken. Then, they would be able to walk out the door,” said Strange. “They have to come back for the court where the judge will decide what happens.”
Right now, it's not clear when, or if this will go into effect.
We will continue to follow this piece of legislation through the process.