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New Camera Technology to Help Keep Our Students Safe

With 56 buses and vans in the school district, Hendrick Hudson drivers have been privy to plenty of traffic violations. The stop signs and red lights on vehicles haven’t always prevented other drivers from passing stopped buses when they shouldn’t, which is a major safety concern.

The district now has an emerging solution — and early data suggests it could bring major changes that will keep our students much safer in the coming years.

Hendrick Hudson is one of two districts in Westchester County participating in a pilot program through BusPatrol, an AI-powered school bus safety program. Every one of the district’s vehicles has been outfitted with approximately $10,000 worth of camera equipment. The video technology triggers when bus drivers begin to stop and cameras film any driver that commits a violation in the vehicle’s proximity.

When the program takes effect this September, BusPatrol will issue tickets to drivers caught committing a traffic violation. Through the first five months of this school year, the technology caught more than 1,800 violations committed in the vicinity of Hendrick Hudson buses and vans. In the future, the registered owner of those offending vehicles will be issued a ticket.

Partnering with BusPatrol comes at no cost to the school district. Hendrick Hudson’s Supervisor of Transportation, Elizabeth Gilleo, said the company recoups fees from the tickets it issues.

“It costs us nothing,” Gilleo said.

Gilleo spoke at a public hearing of the Westchester County Board of Legislators last year to urge the board to adopt the program, which is already in use in nearby counties. She also recently joined the district’s PTA Advisory Committee, along with representatives from the county legislator, the Westchester County Police Department, the Town of Cortlandt, BusPatrol, and Superintendent of Schools Michael Tromblee.

“The biggest problem in the district is that we don’t seem to get drivers’ attention with the red lights on our buses,” Gilleo said. “This should help bring the issue to the public’s attention. It’s going to be a huge mechanism to keep our kids safe.”