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Thousands of drivers illegally passed Peabody school buses pilot program shows

Peabody school bus cameras capture more than 3,000 illegal incidents
Peabody school bus cameras capture more than 3,000 illegal incidents 02:06

PEABODY - Peabody Public Schools released new data Monday, showing that vehicles illegally passed some of the district's school buses thousands of times over the last school year.

The data was collected by mounting cameras on 10 buses and using artificial intelligence technology by a company called BusPatrol. Between September of 2023 and May of 2024, BusPatrol's cameras recorded 3,412 vehicles failing to stop for school buses that were stopped to pick up or drop off students. That amounts to roughly 2.3 illegal passes a day.

School bus Peabody
An SUV illegally passes a school bus in Peabody CBS Boston

"It's an accident waiting to happen. And I don't want to be here and have to report to a parent that their child got struck by a vehicle not stopping for a bus," said Peabody Police Captain Scott Richards during a news conference revealing the data.

Legislation would allow camera systems, enforcement  

The school district said the program allowed police to increase their patrols in areas where cameras recorded increased reckless activity. Peabody leaders are also using the data to promote a piece of legislation under consideration on Beacon Hill. The bill would allow school districts to use similar camera systems to combat the issue of reckless driving around buses.

Peabody school bus
Stop sign and cameras mounted on Peabody school bus CBS Boston

"If this bill passes it will give us the ability to be able to enforce this law and cite folks. And when we start citing folks and they get that ticket in the mail, it's going to curb their behavior," Richards said.

At least 27 states, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Maine, have legalized school bus stop-arm enforcement programs, according to BusPatrol.  

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