Safety is essential when it comes to our children and when you consider that school buses transport millions of kids to and from school each year, incidents are bound to happen. Security camera surveillance provides a great tool for school buses – and not just for keeping children safe.
School Bus Surveillance Benefits
Children Protection – Kids will be kids, and it’s inevitable that children will sometimes override the bus safety rules. Security cameras can offer bus drivers a second pair of eyes and help keep children at bay while navigating the school bus route to or from school.
Bus Protection– There is no cargo more precious than our children, and this is why we have a specific set of traffic laws that exist for both motorist and school bus drivers (ex: buses must come to a complete stop at all railroad crossings, drivers must stop when school buses are letting off or boarding riders). These laws come with steep fines and dire consequences when violated. CCTV cameras pointed outside buses or installed outside of the buses can identify motorists who bypass the laws and illegally pass buses. Surveillance cameras can also help identify erratic drivers and dangerous driver behavior.
Live monitoring – School buses often rely on older technology that recorder onboard cameras and some buses continue to use older recorders with tapes. Any incident that occurred during the bus routes and would have to be reviewed at the end of the day by removing the tape. Though helpful, immediate review of the tapes is difficult in the event of an emergency. Newer digital video systems and wireless networking provide buses the ability to not only view the bus live remotely but, respond to an event instantly. Buses equipped using 3G/4G networks (cell phone data) or wireless “mesh” networks, can transmit video footage immediately to the head office and even offer alarm notifications via email or push notification to supervisors.
Camera Recording – Bus surveillance does not have to be costly. Many of the newer IP cameras offer built-in storage recording and there is no need for a digital video recorder (DVR). The IP cameras record in HD and provide highly detailed video that is recorded directly on an SD card in the camera. Incidents recorded by the camera can be seen by removing the SD card and playing it back on your PC or by simply having the cameras connected to Wi-Fi network locally on the bus that allows you to view the footage from a wireless laptop. Since most incidents happen the same day there no need for long-term storage and added costs.
GPS Location – Many newer digital video surveillance systems now offer full GPS information along with living video streams. Not only can you monitor the buses live on video but now you can actually see where they are at instantly. Video streams offer full GPS coordinates and live maps to show you where your bus or buses are exactly. This allows you to dispatch police, or emergency personnel directly to the bus location in the event of an incident or emergency. Many of these newer systems also provide 2-way audio so you may communicate with the bus driver directly at any time and monitor the bus drivers interaction with students.
School Bus Security Cameras Risks
Damages – Anytime you have a bus load of children you have the chance of having your surveillance cameras tampered with or damaged. Cameras that are installed externally are susceptible to damage by inclement weather, accidents, and simply normal wear-and-tear.
Reliance – Surveillance is a great tool for school buses, CCTV and security cameras cannot replace the awareness and vigilance of a good bus driver.
School Bus CCTV System Considerations
Just because school buses all look the same and have the same orange-yellow color does not mean that every school bus will have the same security needs. There are many factors that should be considered when selecting and installing a CCTV system. Here are some questions you should consider when designing a school bus security camera system:
What is your most pressing security concern?
Would you like live video monitoring of the buses?
Do you want to monitor the buses with live GPS coordinates?
How many buses do you have in your fleet?
Do you typically have issues with student behavior on the bus or with other motorists?
School Bus Security Camera Installation Tips
Install security cameras inside the buses so you may monitor and record every seat within the cameras field of view. Depending on the buses size and layout you may need several cameras to accomplish this.
Install cameras on the outside of the bus facing the driver’s view towards the road ahead and behind. You also have the option of installing a dashboard camera looking out from the inside to the road ahead or behind.
Consider using cameras to cover blind spots for the driver.
Install a small monitor next to or above the driver so they may monitor the children more closely.