In California, there are bar-code readers. In Boston, there is a free app that allows you to track the location of a school bus. In Phoenix, an alarm system is installed. In Georgia, “a more hands-on approach” is being implemented. School districts nationwide are employing more technology to improve bus safety.
Based on statistics, there are 15-18 student fatalities that happen on the bus or outside the bus each year. These figures are heartbreaking especially to parents who entrust their children to the schools. That’s why schools are taking more initiatives to ensure a safe transport of their students. For instance, Folsom Cordova Unified School District in California use bar-code readers that are linked to a GPS tracking system. As students get on and off a bus, they will swipe a card. Through this process, the school districts will be able to keep track of the location and time. This is similar with the application made by Boston Public Schools. The name of the app is “Where’s My School Bus” and is available to families. This app allows families to track the location of their kids’ bus on a real-time GPS-enabled map.
Technology on Kentucky’s school buses
In Louisville, school buses are adding cameras to help track and record events that may occur on the bus. Installations have already begun in order to make the children’s ride to school safer. Jefferson County is placing four cameras in each bus. One will be up by the driver facing towards the stairwell; it will be able to see the driver, as well as kids getting on and off the bus. Another one faces backwards from the front of the bus, allowing the entire length of the school bus to be seen. In the middle, there will be two cameras that are back to back. One will be facing forward and the other backwards. The footage will be downloaded to a DVR on the bus.
In Fayette County, school buses have an electronic ID system. The purpose of this electronic feature is to provide district officials and parents with a closer track of students going to and from school. Likewise, it gives the location of school buses and the speeds at which they are traveling. Another feature to the system was added in 2013 and it is called ZPass. ZPass will record the presence and identity of the child. Within seconds, the information will be sent to a database. It will also record when and where the student left the school bus.
A variety of new technology is also integrated on Henry County Public School Buses. These include higher resolution digital camera systems, digital radios and a GPS system. Through the use of these technologies, one can check and see the actual speed and location of the bus as well as validate the use of safety equipment such as brake lights, stop signs and turn signals.
School buses as the safest mode of transportation
According to U.S. Department of Transportation, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. American School Bus Council affirms this fact and even states that school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury. This coming week, we will be celebrating the 2013 National School Bus Safety Week with the theme, “Stand Back From the Yellow and Black.” This is a good opportunity for all school districts, parents and students to participate and help make riding a school bus a safe and enjoyable experience.
As a Kentucky Child Accident Attorney, I am hoping that through the use of these technologies and with the celebration of the School Bus Safety Week, accidents involving school buses will be prevented. However, it's also up to other drivers to play their part and follow rules when driving with school buses on the road. This will also help keep students safe and make the bus ride more enjoyable.