Watervliet is latest district set to roll out school bus safety tech

Watervliet partnering with BusPatrol to add cameras to stop arms

Watervliet has finalized plans to add stop arm cameras to its school buses.

Watervliet City School District is the latest district in the Capital Region to add stop arm cameras to its fleet of school buses.

Schools across the Capital Region have rolled out the stop arm cameras that use artificial intelligence to identify license plates of drivers who fail to stop for a bus, including in Bethlehem and South Colonie.

The cameras are part of a partnership with Virginia-based technology company BusPatrol. The company installs the cameras for at no upfront cost to taxpayers or the municipality.

The city of Watervliet passed a resolution allowing the cameras.

“The resolution gives us the authority to take the footage, review it and then implement the fees to the violators,” said Mayor Charles Patricelli.

BusPatrol’s technology collects video and license plate data, which are sent to municipalities for enforcement. Violators have the chance to review the video of the alleged violation and the rules about when they must stop.

First-time offenders are charged $250 in New York. BusPatrol takes a portion of each fine, about 40% to 70%, depending on the municipality.

It’s about keeping children safe, according to Watervliet Superintendent Don Stevens.

“Our houses are a lot closer together, city blocks that have, you know, multiple homes with children that are getting on or off the school bus, so having that bus stop at the corner might lead to 10 to 20 students getting on or off the bus,” Stevens said.

The cameras are not yet installed. The goal is to get the technology on every bus that serves the district.