Quebec pilot project puts cameras on school buses

The pilot project in Quebec, which begins in March, will put cameras on 13 different school buses across the province in an effort to collect data on drivers who break the law.

13 school buses across the province will be equipped with cameras.

A new pilot project in Quebec has put 13 cameras on school busses around the province to collect data on illegally passing cars. (CBC News)

The Quebec government announced a new pilot project Friday, placing cameras on 13 school buses across the province to collect data on cars illegally 'blowing by' stopped school buses.

This pilot project is similar to one Ottawa started back in 2014, but this project will not ticket drivers who illegally pass school buses that are stopped with their flashers on. 

Instead, the goal is to collect data about how often motorists are breaking the law in Quebec. The project will start on March 12 and last 45 days.

"The idea is to get a good picture of what's going on in and around our school buses," said André Fortin, Quebec's  Minister of Transport, "We want to collect some data and we want to know what's going on in different parts of the province."

There are eight Quebec regions that are taking part in the pilot project:

  • Outaouais :1 bus
  • Quebec City: 2 buses
  • Montreal : 3 buses
  • Laval: 2 buses
  • Larentides: 1 bus
  • Cote-Nord: 1 bus
  • Montérégie: 1 bus
  • Estrie: 1 bus​
André Fortin, Quebec's Transport Minister, said this pilot project will collect data to get a better picture of how many cars are illegally passing school busses that are stopped. (CBC News)

Fortin said once the data is assessed, they will begin to consider a more permanent program.

According to Bus Patrouille, which supplies the cameras for the project, each system will cost $10,000. Bus Patrouille will be funding the entire project. 

According to the Gatineau police, in 2017 there were 46 incidents where a driver was reckless around a school bus and three incidents so far in 2018.

However, not everyone believes the pilot project will solve the problem. Mark Toufayan is a parent and resident in the Hull area.

"I am not convinced that this is the best way to go about addressing the problem," said Toufayan raising privacy concerns. 

Mark Toufayan is a resident and parent who lived in the Gatineau area. He said he is not convinced that this pilot project will work.

Ottawa to get more cameras on school buses

Ottawa ran it's own pilot project between May 2014 and October 2015. One camera was put on a bus in the east-end to catch drivers illegally passing school buses. During the project police laid 75 charges against drivers, levelling a $490 fine in each case.

Now the project has moved into a more permanent stage said Sgt. Mark Gatien with the Ottawa police traffic unit.

During the May long weekend, one camera will be installed on a bus that runs along the M.L Bradley school bus line. The program will operate until the end of the school year in June and then five more cameras will be added to school buses in the fall.

Sgt. Mark Gatien with the Ottawa Police says they will be putting one camera on a school bus in May. (CBC)

The fine of $490 will remain for drivers caught on camera breaking the law.

Safer Roads Ottawa is funding the program and Gatien said the only thing missing is a response from the privacy commissioner, who is reviewing an impact statement on the program.

According to the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority, there are over 1,000 buses on the road, including large yellow buses, small vehicles, and wheelchair buses for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board. There are around 350 vehicles for the french school board in Ottawa.