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Bill Proposes Cameras on School Buses to Catch Bad Drivers

7:42 AM, Feb 3, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Florida Senator wants to put cameras on school buses to catch bad drivers and ticket them. It's a proposed bill that caught the attention of a local mother.

In the First Coast News Investigation into illegal passers, we caught six drivers speeding by stopped school buses on just three stops. Following that report, a local mother contacted us in hopes of putting a stop to it.

Scharee Faulk said she fears for her son Wyatt's safety every day. She told us numerous drivers have almost hit the 4-year-old as he gets on and off his school bus.

"His bus was completely stopped and she just kept coming and coming, no brake lights, nothing," Faulk said, describing the first time a driver didn't stop. "I ran from here to the end of the driveway and I yelled 'Stop!' She got irate, 'I have some place to be.'"

Wyatt is a special education student at Grove Park Elementary for speech and language.

"You watch your child almost get hit 2, 3, 4 different times," Faulk said. "I need to be heard. Something needs to get done."

Wyatt isn't the only student that could be in danger. According to the 2011 National Stop Arm Violation Survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), school bus drivers across Florida documented more than 20,000 illegal passers in just one day. In Duval County alone, more than 2,000 illegal passers were reported that day.

Faulk said she called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for help and was told an officer could be sent to her house if she filed a complaint.

"I made a report." she said. "It happened again. I got told the same thing so I made another report... I'm not getting results and it's frustrating."

JSO said every complaint will get addressed.

"We can't be everywhere," Melissa Bujeda with JSO said. "If we were everywhere, crime would not be committed. So we ask the public for their assistance and their patience."

Faulk said she think there's more that can be done. "The help's not there when you need it. It's going to be there after the fact."

Well, what if illegal passers were caught on camera? Florida Senator Oscar Braynon, D-Florida, has proposed a bill that would install cameras on school buses and fine stop arm violators $200. We caught up with him in Tallahassee.

MORE: Bill Proposed By Senator Braynon

"Nowhere you're going is so important that it should put a child's life at risk," Braynon said.

The bill proposes a camera system similar to red light cameras, so those against it cite privacy concerns.

"It's not big brother watching, it's the bus driver watching," Braynon said. "This is a camera that's man activated and man monitored."

If the bill passes, it would be up to school districts to get the cameras. Money from tickets would pay for the installation. But will it help?

"It'll go down," Braynon said. "I think people will just automatically follow those rules."

It's a move moms like Faulk support.

"I honestly think that the first couple of $200 tickets, they'll learn, they'll stop," Faulk said. "It makes me sad that people don't take as much regard for a child's life as they should."

MORE: 6 Ways to Keep Kids Safe on the School Bus

Braynon hopes the bill will be brought up for vote this legislative session. If you support the bill, SB 250, contact Senator Oscar Braynon via email at, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

First Coast News

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