School bus cameras capture violators

A new safety camera on Trumbull school buses will capture the images and video of drivers who illegally pass stopped buses.

The automated camera system is currently installed on one school bus in town, monitoring problematic routes. First Selectman Timothy Herbst said he believes the technology will be used on several buses, at no cost taxpayers.

“The cost of these systems is covered by the revenue from fines,” Herbst told The Times Monday. “It promotes bus and school safety, and it’s not going to cost the taxpayers money.”

The technology, provided by Redflex Traffic Systems, is called Student Guardian. It is a safety camera system installed six feet behind the stop arm on the driver’s side of a school bus, according to information from Redflex. It monitors traffic while the bus’s stop arm and red lights are displayed, leaving the bus driver free to focus on students. A camera is triggered to capture data as a vehicle passes the bus while children are entering and exiting the bus. Evidence of violations, including video and high-resolution images, is uploaded to local law enforcement to determine whether a citation is warranted. If an officer determines a violation occurred, the registered owner of the vehicle is mailed a citation for passing a standing school bus. The registered owner will have an opportunity to review images and video of the violation online.

“The Town of Trumbull welcomes the opportunity to work with the Trumbull Police Department and school district to enhance and improve safety for our students by utilizing the Student Guardian program,” Herbst said in a release last week. “We are excited to join nearly 30 Connecticut school districts who have already adopted this innovative technology.”

Police Chief Thomas Kiely also supports the system.

“The Trumbull Police Department is committed to the safety and well-being of all our residents, especially the children in our community,” Kiely said. “Therefore, we are very proud to join the Town administration and Board of Education to support the Student Guardian initiative. This technology provides another layer of protection for our students as they are entering and exiting the school bus.

The fine for passing a school bus in Trumbull is $450.

“We urge all Trumbull drivers to be patient around school buses and wait to proceed until the stop arm is no longer extended,” Kiely said.

Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. has reached an agreement with the town to operate the program without any upfront costs. It is fully funded by the fines from violations.

According to a 2013 study by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, 29 states found that more than 85,000 vehicles illegally passed 108,000 school buses in one day. That represents more than 15 million illegal passes nationally in a typical 180-day school year.

“Student Guardian is an extremely valuable tool school districts can use to protect kids who ride the bus. It’s unrealistic to think law enforcement can patrol hundreds of bus routes on their own every day,” said Thomas O’Connor of Redflex. “Not only do the safety cameras monitor and deter drivers from breaking the law, they raise community awareness about school bus safety in general.”

To learn more about Student Guardian, visit