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Lee County school buses gets cameras to catch stop sign runners

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Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Lee County school buses gets cameras to catch stop sign runners

By Matt Grant. CREATED Feb 1, 2013

FORT MYERS - As Fox 4 first reported last month, Lee County bus drivers will have a new tool to hold drivers accountable if they break the law.

In a month, the Lee County School District will be installing cameras on the bus' stop sign arms and begin recording the license plates of drivers who are not stopping when they should.

It's a problem Fox 4 has been exposing for more than a year.

Last month, our cameras caught a driver flying past a stopped school bus in Fort Myers as it was dropping of kindergartners. By law, unless there is a 5-foot median, traffic in both directions has to stop.

The district is finding a new way to fight back. They're working with a company called Red Flex to install cameras on all buses to capture drivers breaking the law, according to transportation director Robert Morgan.

"This is going to identify those cars that do go past it," said Morgan, "like running a red light."

According to Morgan, the district was selected as part of a pilot program so the cameras won't cost taxpayers anything.

"They run the lights you see them doing that," said Morgan. "The police can't patrol everything."

Morgan says if they like the cameras they will need legislative approval to install them permanently. He hopes they serve as a deterrent to drivers who ignore the bus' flashing lights.

He even offered Fox 4 a first look at the cameras once they're installed.

"Hopefully you'll come out with a couple of our bus stops...and just see how this thing works," said Morgan. "I'm really enthused with it."

Morgan says he'll be talking with the company to see if the evidence captured during the trial phase could be turned over to law enforcement.

"If the sheriff's office wanted it," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant, "would you be in favor of giving them the tapes?"

"If the company allows us to do that," said Morgan. "I would be willing to give that tape to anyone. Anything for the safety of our students."

Morgan will meet with officials Monday to discuss the camera project.

If you are caught passing a stopped school bus, it is four points on your license and a $264 fine.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com