Lake Travis ISD to equip buses with cameras to catch passing dr - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Lake Travis ISD to equip buses with cameras to catch passing drivers

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Lake Travis School District plans to outfit all of its buses with a new camera system designed to catch those trying to pass the bus. It's like a red light camera system for buses. Violators caught running the flashing red stop sign on the side of a bus will get a ticket in the mail.

Busguard provided FOX 7 video of a school bus making a stop in Dallas County. Just as a kid walks out, he is hit by a car. He goes tumbling to the ground, but manages to get up and walk away. According to Busguard, the student was just fine.

Last year, a similar accident happened in the Lake Travis School District. The flashing stop sign was out. Yet, a driver continued on and hit a 10-year-old girl.

"Thankfully the young lady didn't sustain any real injuries, bumps, bruises and scrapes," said Lake Travis ISD spokesperson Marco Alvarado. "We were very lucky in that incident."

Not wanting to push that luck, Alvarado says the district participated in a pilot program with Busguard. During the 90 day trial, there were 91 violations. Round Rock and Leander also participated, but saw less violations.

Driver Melissa Estrada says she it firsthand.

"Happens about three times a week," Estrada said. "It makes you angry you feel like the mother hen taking care of all the kids on the bus."

"It's something that we take very seriously," Alvarado said.

Alvarado says the school board gave approval to outfit all 55 buses with the camera system, which looks like a black box. It is mounted on the driver side of the bus.

Employees with Busguard will monitor the live feeds from the headquarters in Dallas. Images of violators will be sent to the local police department where officers will give approval for a ticket. Fines start at $300.

The city council must pass a resolution giving final approval. If that happens, cameras will roll in 2014.

"That would be great. That's a good idea because that way they know someone is watching. We can't catch everything and the cops aren't always there," Estrada said.

"With a growing school district we have increase of traffic, very busy thoroughfare of 620 and 71 there's a need for us to continue to look at the safety of our students, especially with bus transportation making sure we do everything that we can do to provide a safe environment," said Alvarado.

The camera system is free to the district. The company will make its money through the ticketing process. San Marcos ISD has also given approval for the system.

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