Eureka Springs School District installing cameras on buses to catch drivers illegally passing

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. - Pat Todd has been behind the wheel of a Eureka Springs school bus for four years. During that time, he has seen plenty of people illegally pass when he turns on his lights to stop.

"I've seen them on cell phones while they're going by," Todd said. "And the hardest part for us is try to ID who is driving, and the car, the make, model, so forth."

But now Eureka Springs School District is adding cameras to school buses to catch people illegally passing them.

They are able to record the details of the car, like the tag, when the driver makes the wrong decision to pass a bus when it turns its lights on preparing to stop, or is already stopped.

"And a lot of the time we were able to get their face," said John Kesler, the Eureka Springs transportation director.

School leaders can then show police.

Kesler said this is a recurring problem in the state, especially because of distracted driving.

"Last year's one-day survey we had 884 people in Arkansas pass our school buses statewide," Kesler said.

They're hoping these cameras will bring awareness to the problem, and hold the people not paying attention accountable.

Parents said it comforts them knowing this technology is out there.

"It's just a weight lifted off knowing my kids are being watched over all the time, even when I'm not there," said Tilenna Hill, a parent and teacher at Eureka Springs.

This year Arkansas passed a law stating if you pass a school bus illegally, you could face a fine between $500 to $2,500.​

"If one of these kids is accidentally hit by somebody just answering a phone or answering a text, it would be an absolute tragedy," Todd said.

The school district should have the cameras on all school buses in the next week or two.