School bus drivers across the state are fed up and parents are on edge because of close calls involving drivers going around stopped school buses.

7 Investigates recently got a look at how one local city is cracking down on drivers who speed through school zones. 

“My heart sank and I ran out of the house,” said Peabody parent Elizabeth Mover in an interview. 

Mover’s son, Ben, was struck by a car on the way to school last year. 

“He did everything right,” she said. “And a car unfortunately ran the red light and hit him while he was on his bike.”

Ben is going to be OK. Now, his mother is on a mission to protect other children.

“It sparked a fire in me that I was just angry that nothing was happening to these people who were violating the rules of the road,” Mover said.

“When you think someone’s going to get hit right in front of you, it’s pretty terrifying,” said Kathleen Kraemer, a school bus instructor and safety officer for Healey Bus.

Officials speaking with 7NEWS said bus drivers are shocked by what they see on the road. 

“They’re not paying attention to those big yellow school buses with those flashing lights,” said Lisa Connors, the director of transportation for the Peabody Public Schools. 

“They will go to the right side, going through the left side, not stopping, speeding,” said Healey Bus Safety Manager and Assistant Operations Manager Clair McNair. 

While the state has fines in place for those who illegally pass buses,experts say it’s nearly impossible to catch a driver unless an officer sees the incident happen.

“There’s really no consequences unless it’s something really tragic,” Connors said. 

Peabody mother Maria Scheri hopes an initiative she launched will change the situation. 

“I don’t think people really realize the extent of this happening,” she said. 

Working with the mayor’s office and a company called “Bus Patrol,” Scheri got safety cameras installed on the outside of 10 public school buses. 

The cameras, developed by Bus Control, can detect if a car is passing a bus when its stop signs have been deployed. 

The cameras record the incident and grab the driver’s license plate number. 

“This type of enforcement, I think it will really help and other states are seeing that they’re getting almost a 98% reduction in repeat violations,” Scheri said.

The buses equipped with cameras have three on the side, capturing motion on the front and back of the vehicle, as well as another camera right on the back of the bus. 

All the cameras gather information that gets sent directly to Bus Patrol.

“We’re going to be able to recognize some trouble spots, areas of concern and then be able to utilize that data to try to push it forward,” said Peabody Mayor Edward Bettencourt.

Until a law is passed, the city can’t hand out fines to drivers caught on camera. 

But the city hopes the cameras will make people think twice before they try to pass. 

“Once the word gets out that we do have the cameras on the outside of the buses watching the cars and something can be done, that’s such a huge relief for us,” Connors said.

The cameras will be on the buses in Peabody for the rest of the school year. 

Organizers will then be using information they gather to try to push for more change.

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