Bill would put cameras on school buses - WNCT

Bill would put cameras on school buses

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Lawmakers are looking to take quick action after a stop arm violation at a Sampson County school bus stop took the life of a 7-year-old girl.

Alyiah Morgan was hit and killed by a logging truck moments after stepping off her school bus last week.

Johnny Spell, the driver of the truck, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the hit-and-run. He also faces charges for driving while intoxicated.

One lawmaker says installing cameras on buses could help put a stop to these violations without costing the taxpayer a dime.    

 "We have had children killed," said Sen. Tommy Tucker of Union County.

After viewing disturbing images of potentially deadly violations, Tucker is pushing for cameras on school buses.  And he said he has a plan to pay for it. 

 "We found out through research that everyone was changing out school buses at 200,000 miles on a diesel engine," Tucker said. "Everyone knows they last longer so we are proposing we extend the miles to 250,000."

He said the Department of Public Instruction estimates that could save $19 million the first year and $37 million the next.

He believes the savings from not buying new buses could go to buying and installing cameras.

The idea is to buy two cameras for all 115 districts and rotate them. The goal is to get enough evidence to prosecute stop arm violators. 

Frank Bowden, a sales manager at Fortress Mobile surveillance company, said, "I think people need to see the dangers that children are under on an everyday basis, where kids are most vulnerable getting back and forth to school every day." 

He said it takes no time for his company to capture images that reveal cars speeding by stopped buses and completely ignoring the stop arm.

Tucker said he has received positive feedback on the plan and is even expecting a Senate vote within a couple weeks.

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