Synovia Solutions Blog

School Bus Video Surveillance ­– Keeping an eye on our kids

Posted by Bill Westerman on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 @ 10:13 AM

Overall Video Surveillance Benefits

Video surveillance for business has been available to fleet managers for a little over a decade. Prior to that recording devices, such as VHS tape recorders, were either too large or didn’t record enough SYN-Fleet-Management-Benefits-290x226.jpgcontent to be practically feasible. But now, with the addition of digital memory storage, the price is coming down and the benefits are becoming more and more clear.

In addition to video images helping bus drivers navigate difficult maneuvers, such as backing up, or bringing clarity to what were once blind spots, video also helps to deter negative behavior and plays a crucial role in helping to settle any disputes that may arise. By acting as a neutral third party, video surveillance can reduce a company’s liability by helping to disprove incidents or back up the claims of the drivers when they are not at fault.

Alongside improved safety and reduced liability, customer service can also be greatly improved by monitoring how drivers interact with customers.

Video surveillance is a valuable tool for business, but all the benefits it brings to fleet managers can also be translated many times over for a school district’s transportation manager. After all, what holds true for drivers hauling freight should be equally true for drivers transporting children to and from school, if not more so.

In a perfect world, each and every time a school bus shifts into reverse a second person would be on the scene to help out. Most school districts actually prohibit bus drivers from backing up without a guide, and some states even have laws prohibiting it.

However, many times it’s just the driver having to rely on what little he or she can see with their two eyes, both inside their 35-foot-long vehicle and out.

Keeping an eye on the kids

Rowdy behavior, if left unchecked, can get children in trouble on the bus. Since most school buses can carry upwards of 64 students at a time it is literally impossible for drivers to keep a close eye on all of them – especially when they are also being asked to safely navigate their vehicle.

With video surveillance cameras positioned all over the interior of the bus, drivers no longer have to have eyes in the back of their heads to keep the kids in check. Children will have to think twice about misbehaving when there is sure to be video footage of anything they do. While it may be true that in certain instances you simply cannot stop children from doing questionable or dangerous things, that doesn’t mean you have to let them get away with it.

Additionally, video surveillance for school district transportation directors can help identify bullying, vandalism, student discipline problems, and driver safety issues the same way it helps business fleet managers identify how their drivers behave with customers.

Keeping an eye on the surroundings

Outside the bus, it’s equally important to keep an eye on children, both when the vehicle needs to back up and to make sure kids have safely exited the immediate vicinity after being dropped off. After all, pick-up and drop off times are when most accidents occur.

Video surveillance can also be used to capture the license plates of stop-arm violators (yes, police can indeed send you a ticket if you are caught on tape running a bus stop arm) and exterior video can be used to make sure school bus drivers come to a complete stop when encountering railroad crossings.

Video doesn’t lie

With the ability to quickly and easily download video of a particular situation, video recorders allow fleet managers to remove the “he said, she said” aspect of confrontations and allegations. Video doesn’t lie, and the burden of proof in both criminal and civil lawsuits can often be taken care of with just a simple video sample from a legitimate video recording device or system.

Safety and more

There’s a reason school buses are painted bright yellow. There’s a reason why the consequences for violating the rules of the road surrounding school buses are so dire and fines are so steep. There’s a reason why we don’t just let anyone become a school bus driver. The reason is safety. 

As the largest form of public transportation in this country, more parents trust buses with their children than any other form of transportation. They need to be as safe as possible and video surveillance is only one of the latest tools that school districts can use to make sure our youngest and most vulnerable generation make it safely to school and home again every single day.