PEABODY, MASS. (WHDH) - A car races past a Peabody school bus, even though you can clearly see its bright flashing red lights and stop sign. Soon after, another car — zooming by just seconds before children sprinted across the street to safety.

“Every day we can’t let them cross the street,” said Peabody parent Barbara Digirolam. “An adult has to be here because they can’t cross the street safely, which is really disturbing.”

Digirolam has witnessed many close calls as she watches her kids getting on and off the bus.

Drivers must stop when a school bus is letting students on and off, but that doesn’t always happen.

“We had two kids in Peabody last year who got hit by a car because somebody went around the bus,” Digirolam said.

7 Investigates was the first to report last fall that Peabody had partnered with a company called Bus Patrol to equip school buses with cameras. These cameras detect and record cars zooming by buses that have their stop signs out.

Since our investigation, well over 2,500 violations were caught on camera.

“We have cameras on 10 of the buses. We have a fleet of 30 so when you look at those numbers and extrapolate them out, the numbers really are… it’s really much, much higher,” said Peabody mother Maria Sheri.

The police department also took notice.

“It’s helping us identify more trouble spots so that we can allocate limited resources to those spots and try to conduct that enforcement that is very necessary,” Peabody Police Captain Scott Richards said.

As a result of this pilot program, officers are now strategically positioned along some of the most dangerous bus routes identified by the cameras. They’re also deploying unmarked cruisers to tail buses and bust those making dangerous passes.

“It seems that the morning commute is a little more dangerous than the afternoon,” Richards said. “People are rushing to get to work in the morning and sometimes they don’t really care about traffic around them.”

Drivers who pass a school bus can be fined $250, but police can’t legally give out tickets based on the bus patrol recordings alone. They need to witness the offense.

“The information as it rolls in guides what we do with our resources and we’re going to continue to combat this problem,” Richards said.

Peabody police are exploring ways to use the camera footage as evidence against dangerous drivers. And parents are all for it.

“It’s not a money grab. It’s not what this is about. We’ve got kids that need to cross the street and people are deliberately ignoring the law that was enacted to protect them,” Sheri said.

Parents hope the cameras become a permanent fixture on school buses across the state.

“If it’s happening in peabody, it’s happening in every other city in town in massachusetts,” Digirolam said.

“We can’t just kick it down the road anymore. Someone’s going to get killed. I don’t want anybody scratching their heads going, ‘Oh jeez, why didn’t we do anything about this,'” Sheri said.

Studies done by MassDOT show nearly half of all serious pedestrian accidents happen within 300 feet of a bus stop. Communities around the United States with similar cameras noted a 98 percent reduction in repeat offenses.

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