PWPSD school bus red light cameras lead to tickets

Peace Wapiti Public School Divison (PWPSD) has added red light cameras to its buses, catching drivers who pass while the stop sign is extended.

The division began installing cameras last June.

“We do not have a lot of flybys (vehicles passing the bus with the red lights flashing), but they do happen, and the majority of those are within the larger rural subdivisions,” said Kayla Klava, PWPSD spokesperson.

The division has captured approximately 10 videos of driving infractions, which have been sent to County of Grande Prairie Enforcement Services.

Fines for passing a school bus with its stop sign extended are $486, said Sgt. Cory Rigler with county enforcement.

“The videos are a great tool; they aid the officer for successful prosecution,” he said.

In a review of the county’s 2022 cases, Rigler said nine school bus related files were created, resulting in five charges.

“With the videos, we review all the evidence, and if all the elements of the offence have been met, then we usually issue a violation ticket.

“If for some reason some of the elements are not met, we still have options to speak to the registered owner and to issue a verbal warning.”

Rigler reminded people that it's important to watch for school buses as there may be pedestrians nearby, along with line-of-sight issues.

“Once those red lights are flashing, it's in everyone's best interest that the traffic stops.”

Each PWPSD bus is now equipped with five cameras; one facing forward and another facing backward mounted on the outside of the bus and three interior cameras which capture the road in front of the bus, another facing the driver and another on riders.

Klava says bus drivers like the new cameras as it gives them “physical evidence of infractions that occur.

“The interior cameras also protect our drivers and help with student management issues.”

The Grande Prairie Public School Division and Grande Prairie and District Catholic School Division contract their transportation services to First Student.

Town & Country News reached out to First Student for comment but did not hear back before publication time.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News