‘Cameras don’t lie’: Thunder Bay City Council to discuss adding cameras to school buses

A Thunder Bay city councilor is asking the administration to consider installing stop-arm cameras on school buses.

Westfort County. Kristen Oliver raises the issue at Monday’s meeting. If advisers approved his resolution, the report would also include costs associated with a stop-arm camera program.

“It’s sort of an interesting position in the sense that the municipalities, in essence, are the ones who have to make the decision if they want to license these cameras… not the owner of the school bus infrastructure,” Oliver said.

“So there are a few things at play here that the city really needs to dig into and figure out the best way forward.”

Oliver is also a parent of school-aged children and chairman of the city’s police services board, and he hears residents’ concerns about school bus safety.

“When we talk about making sure our children go to school safely, this is something we need to look at,” she said.

Ontario passed legislation in September 2019 that allows municipalities to install the cameras, which are designed to capture footage of any vehicle passing a school bus while its lights are flashing and the stop arm is deployed.

A ticket would then be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Thunder Bay Police said that since the start of the 2021-2022 school year, seven people have been charged in the city with illegally passing a school bus.

However, there were 18 other incidents that could not result in charges due to lack of evidence.

A police spokesperson said in a statement “a camera, properly used, could provide investigators with additional evidence to help advance an investigation.”

Craig Murphy, director of Thunder Bay Student Transportation Services (STSTB), said police figures do not reflect the full scale of the problem, as only a small portion of drivers who illegally pass school buses are charged.

“We are asking our local school bus drivers to report any instances of vehicles violating the stop arm of a stopped school bus, and we are still seeing a significant number of reports from these drivers,” he said. declared.

Since the start of the school year in early September, drivers have reported about 245 incidents of vehicles illegally passing school buses, Murphy said.

However, very detailed information is needed to make a police report, he said.

Report to be submitted in September

“In order to make a report to the police, you must have a detailed description of the vehicle,” Murphy said. “The make, model, license plate, description of the driver, time of day, exact location – so many details you can get from a speeding vehicle.”

“A lot of times it’s not possible to have all of these details, especially for a school bus driver trying to control the movement of students at a stop.

Stop-arm cameras, Murphy said, would be able to capture all the information needed, and updated Ontario legislation allows video footage to be used as evidence.

“Cameras don’t lie and cameras capture every bit of information,” Murphy said.

If the board approves the resolution on Monday, a report is expected to be delivered by September 2022.

However, Oliver said she would consider whether that time frame could be shortened.

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