• Medway school buses using new cameras to help police catch dangerous drivers

    By: Mike Saccone

    Updated:

    There have been plenty of close calls with cars blowing past school buses that had their stop signs out, and school districts are starting to take action.

    Last winter, dash cam video captured a driver of an SUV narrowly hitting a first-grader and her mother in Millbury as they crossed in front of a bus. 

    >>PREVIOUS: WATCH: Mother, daughter nearly hit by distracted driver at bus stop

    Another school district is joining the fray, as Medway's school buses have added new cameras to help police catch the dangerous drivers.

    "We're finding people just aren't paying attention like they used to," Medway Police Lietuenant Bill Kingsbury said. "They're blowing through this sign not realizing that they should have stopped, and it's too late."

    Now, Medway Police has a new tool to identify and ticket drivers who don't make the necessary stop, with a surveillance camera mounted to the side of each of the district's 13 buses.

    "When a bus driver sees a violation, they're going to note it on the film," Kingsbury said.

    Medway bus driver Cheryl Hladick said the system is simple to make sure that any issue is taken care of.

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    "We'll just hit this button, and that will make that there was a concern of situation that we need to have addressed," Hladick said. 

    Police will then review the video and issue a ticket to the driver.

    Hladick said there's four cameras on the inside to monitor the students and drivers, and one camera on the outside, all helping drivers stay focused on the road.

    The school district doesn't own the buses, but Holmes Transportation gave the district the green light to buy the cameras and install them over winter break.

    "This required a real partnership between Medway Police Department, Holmes Transportation and the schools in order to make this happen," Medway Public Schools Superintendent Armand Pires said. 

    Pires said there's at least one or two reports of drivers speeding past stop signs every week.

    "That may seem like a relatively small rate, but one distracted driver and one child who's maybe not paying as close attention or relying on the expectation that everyone stops," Pires said. "That could lead to a real tragedy."

    Pires said, so far, the majority of the feedback he's received about the new cameras has been positive.

    Hladick has been a bus driver for nearly 20 years, and said the roads have only become more dangerous, in part, because of a spike in distracted driving.

    "It's a concern because if people don't stop for the stop sign, and kids are crossing in front of us and the kids aren't always looking up and paying attention, there's really not much I can do as a bus driver but lean on my horn," Hladick said. "It's very scary because people just don't want to take the time to stop."

    Passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights is at least a $250 fine in Massachusetts.

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