PEABODY, MASS. (WHDH) - Officials in Peabody are calling for a statewide crackdown on drivers who blow by stopped school buses after a city pilot program examining the problem yielded jaw-dropping results.
The city of Peabody started the pilot program in September. Ultimately, the program documented 865 instances of drivers passing stopped buses.
“There’s no excuse in my book,” said Maria Scheri, the founder of S.T.O.P the Operator from Passing, at a press conference on Thursday.
7 Investigates previously covered Peabody’s pilot program in which the city teamed up with a company called BusPatrol to install cameras on the outside of 10 public school buses.
The cameras start rolling when a car passes a school bus with its stop sign deployed. The cameras operate with the goal of grabbing the license plate of the passing car.
While cameras have captured video, police officials this week said they can’t use those videos to issue citations due to privacy laws. Many, as a result, are now hoping new legislation will change the rules.
“If it’s happening in Peabody, it’s happening in every single school district across the state,” Scheri said.
“People need to contact their representatives, start with school committees or whoever will listen to you and urge them to pass the stop-arm camera bill so that we can start enforcing the law and protect these kids,” Scheri continued.
While the state has fines in place for those who illegally pass buses, experts told 7 Investigates it’s nearly impossible to catch a driver unless an officer sees the incident happen.
Speaking earlier this year, Scheri said enforcement using cameras has helped communities in other states significantly cut down on the number of repeat violations.
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