The Gorham School Department will spend thousands of dollars this year to equip its school buses with cameras that can record license plate numbers of vehicles that illegally pass a bus that is stopped to pick up or drop off students.

Superintendent Heather J. Perry and Gorham Police Chief Christopher Sanborn said Tuesday that the cameras should deter drivers from passing school buses that are stopped with their red lights flashing.

The district is aware of more than 50 instances this school year when drivers have driven past stopped buses, Perry and Sanborn said in a statement Tuesday.

“Earlier this fall, school bus drivers, parents and community members reported an increasing number of cars in Gorham not stopping for the flashing red lights of our school buses,” they said.

The district and police agreed to equip the 24-bus fleet with cameras that will record a vehicle’s license plate, along with a time and date stamp, if it passes a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended. Each violation will be downloaded by the state Department of Transportation and shared with the Gorham Police Department, which will issue a summons to the driver.

Twelve of the district’s buses are already equipped with the cameras. The remaining 12 will be fitted with cameras this summer. Perry said the cost will be about $9,000.


The devices have a sensor located directly below the stop-arm on each bus, which triggers a video recorder that records the license plate if a vehicle passes illegally.

“It is important to know that we have not made the decision to move in this direction lightly,” Perry and Sanborn said. “We hope that with this new equipment in place and with the continued partnerships between the Gorham School Department and the Gorham Police Department, that these violations will be greatly reduced.”

Earlier this month, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office issued a summons to a 19-year-old driver from Gorham for passing a stopped MSAD 6 school bus on the right on an unpaved shoulder as a child was starting to get off. The driver pulled the child back onto the bus, and likely saved the child’s life, police said. The incident took place in Standish.

Police used security camera footage to locate the driver.

Passing a stopped school bus, first offense, is punishable by a $250 fine, according to the sheriff’s office.

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