Hilton to add stop-arm cameras to all school buses

Hilton School Bus Camera.jpg
School buses in the Hilton Central School District will be outfitted with cameras on their stop arms. (WHAM photo - file)

Hilton, N.Y. – The Hilton Central School District is putting cameras on the outside of its school buses. To date, five have been installed, but Director of Transportation Joseph LaMarca said, by the end of February break, 86 of the 96 buses in their fleet should be equipped with the cameras.

“We're just looking for a tool to find those who violate the red flashers and pass us dangerously,” LaMarca said. “[We have] at least 10 a week, and it has just been increasingly happening more and more.”

Currently, if a violator is caught by these cameras, the district will collect the vehicle’s license plate from the video and send the information to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Without the cameras, it's up to the bus driver to collect that same information.

“With all the distractions inside and outside of the bus and the safety things that they have to key upon, it's very difficult for them to be able to look and identify a license plate, as a vehicle is moving at 30-miles-per-hour past the bus,” said LaMarca.

The DMV sends a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle, reminding them it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus while its red lights are flashing.

But if a stalled law is passed, that letter could become a $250 fine.

Last month, Governor Cuomo said this law is part of his Executive Budget. If passed, violators would face a fine.

LaMarca said the district is in favor of this law, but that’s not why they are putting in the cameras. It’s a response to safety concerns and a way to help the drivers.

The district is paying $65,000 for the cameras. It’s coming from the district’s special projects budget.