EDITORIAL: School bus safety in Wallingford 

EDITORIAL: School bus safety in Wallingford 

Just about everywhere we go these days, chances are great a surveillance camera is close by.

While this knowledge can, understandably, make one uneasy, it’s tough to argue that surveillance cameras don’t do some good.

An example of this is playing out in Wallingford, where, in 2017, local police used video footage from cameras on school buses to cite 50 motorists for illegally passing.

The Record-Journal reports the school district partnered with Redflex Traffic Systems, an Arizona company, in 2016 to install the cameras, which are mounted discretely on school buses.

The cameras monitor traffic while the stop arm and flashing lights on a bus are displayed. At that point, if a motorist drives by, the camera is triggered to record.

The footage is then reviewed by Redflex and placed in a database for local police to inspect.

In Wallingford, only a couple of buses have cameras at any given time. Redflex and the school district determine on which bus routes the devices would be best utilized.

The partnership with Redflex appears to be working out quite well. Last year in Wallingford, $22,500 in fines were collected and the number of citations issued for illegally passing a school bus increased 61 percent from 2016.

In Connecticut, the fine for illegally passing a school bus is hefty — $465. Because the financial penalty is stiff, Wallingford cops give drivers caught on camera a fair hearing.

"We scrutinize the video and we make sure that there was a good line of sight and the motorist had a good opportunity to stop," Police Lt. Anthony DeMaio said.

Along with generating some money for the community, there is evidence that Wallingford’s school bus cameras may actually deter bad behavior behind the wheel. A report released by Redflex earlier this year noted the town's daily violation average (0.15 per day) is "significantly below" the national average. It seems logical to assume this means Wallingford school kids are now safer when exiting the bus.

These cameras seem like a win all around.

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