Town of Hempstead says school bus camera program paying dividends for communities, keeping kids safe

Chanteé Lans Image
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 9:49PM
LI bus camera program paying huge dividends for communities, kids
Chantee Lans has the latest from Garden City on the program's success.

GARDEN CITY, Long Island (WABC) -- The Town of Hempstead's school bus camera program has only been around for a year and a half, but it already seems to be paying off.

The School Bus Stop-Arm Program in its first full year raked in $13 million in revenue from more than 140,000 fines. Those fines though have dropped by a quarter since the program began.

Some fines -- for drivers trying to avoid the camera by driving on the median -- have even amounted to $250.

"That's a lot," said driver Mary-Ann Munoz. "But some people they need a big fine, to make it seem real."

Hempstead was the first town in Nassau County to sign on to the program in December 2022. Glen Cove and Oyster Bay have since signed on.

All of Suffolk County was already using the stop arm cameras and just last year, the county took in $21 million in revenue.

"That's insane to me, but that would mean that people are obviously violating the stoppage of the bus," said Westbury's Jayden Sinclair.

BusPatrol, which runs the camera program, acknowledged education and enforcement has led to a 25% decrease in violations.

"The program is clearly making our roadways safer for kids who are just trying to board their school safely each morning," the Town of Hempstead said in a statement.

Town of Hempstead officials say that drivers will receive their fines in the mail, and can either pay it or contest it. Only less than 1% have contested.

"I think it's a positive thing, in that it will deter people when word gets out that this is happening," Munoz added. "I don't know why anybody would go whizzing past a school bus."

Town officials are hoping to drop those fines all the way to zero in the near future.

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