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Children’s safety is of paramount importance, especially when it pertains to traffic laws and road safety on school property. It’s the duty of a district, school and the public to ensure optimum safety for students aboard school buses. Unfortunately, it’s common for public motorists to disregard traffic laws implemented by school buses, and school bus stops can become a hotspot for theft and other incidents when left unattended. 

Everyday, 25 million children in the U.S. are transported on yellow school buses – a huge responsibility. With the help of the right technology and bus security cameras, districts can be better prepared to proactively manage and respond to school bus safety issues. Camera systems are essential to promote safer driving, incentivize school bus drivers to adhere to road safety and help protect kids both on the bus and at their stops. They work to promote driver accountability, improve the safety of communities and capture driver violations. 

School bus cameras and stop arm cameras for school buses that are powered by AI analytics are a revolution in school road safety because they can accurately capture stop arm violations or illegal behavior and enable the necessary parties to ensure proper penalties are issued.

In this blog, we’ll talk through the types of school bus camera systems as part of a school security cameras strategy, offering you insights into the technology and the benefits to the district, the school, as well as the children on board.

Benefits of school bus camera systems

Similarly to security solutions like campus and classroom locks, school bus cameras can be beneficial additions for nearly any educational facility that supplies transportation. The conspicuous appearance of the yellow school bus with the red stop arm attached should be enough to deter drivers from acting irresponsibly, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. It’s reported there are still up to 17 million violations every year. Thankfully there are a wide variety of bus camera systems with cutting-edge technology, boasting a myriad of benefits including:

  • Increasing driver accountability
  • Increasing children’s safety while waiting at bus stops
  • Improving visibility while students are in transit
  • Reducing accidents
  • Monitoring student behavior
  • Addressing parent inquiries
  • Assisting law enforcement
  • Analyzing driver performance
  • Reducing bullying on board school buses
  • Routing vehicles in real-time via GPS tracking
  • Building a culture of awareness
  • Reducing wrongful claim instances

Types of school bus cameras

Stop arm cameras for school buses

Stop arm cameras are becoming more common following new traffic laws across participating school districts in the U.S. At present, all 50 states specify that passing a stopped school bus or school bus with red lights flashing and stop arm extended is illegal. 

More and more states are attempting to hold drivers accountable for stop arm violation events by placing cameras on the outside of a bus to record illegal passing or similar violations, and at least 24 states have school bus stop sign cameras laws. Delaware and Michigan were the latest school districts to be added to that list.

So, how does a school bus stop arm camera work? Stop arm cameras are specialized security cameras that are activated when the school bus stops. Most are equipped with AI technology and high-definition cameras, which helps to detect vehicles passing and capture license plate information, and can be used in addition to parking lot camera systems and other school security solutions utilized for campus safety.

98% of drivers who receive a ticket don’t go on to become repeat offenders, which is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effectiveness of school bus camera technology. Not only are stop arm cameras for school buses effective at identifying a reckless driver, they can also capture other data and information. This data can be used by school districts to spot patterns and trends in certain areas, or inform changes to their pick up and drop off procedures to enhance the safety of both students and drivers.

School bus camera systems

As part of expanding schools security systems, many participating school districts install and operate an automated school bus safety camera on school buses to be used for detecting traffic violations including overtaking or meeting a school bus. But activity inside the bus can be just as important to student wellbeing and safety.

Many schools opt for additional school bus cameras inside the bus for safeguarding purposes. School bus camera systems are usually set up inside the bus to record the internal happenings of the bus journey and improve the overall safety of the children on board. Because people are less likely to engage in unsavory behavior when they know there’s a camera in the vicinity, in-vehicle transit cameras on school buses can work to reduce vandalism and bullying.

Audio capture can also be used to monitor behavior within the bus and identify unwanted behavior such as bullying, vandalism or other anti-social behavior. 

School bus camera systems can also be used by the school board to resolve parent or driver complaints. The high-definition video and audio capabilities of school bus camera systems can provide a clearer picture of incidents, and offer an unbiased look at specific events. Overall, they are excellent for helping districts implement safer journeys for children, identify areas of improvement and for encouraging student discipline and driver safety.

Analytics for school bus security cameras

Many school bus camera systems come with built-in video analytics that help make school security teams more proactive. AI-powered video analytics can help detect and alert teams to potentially critical events in need of response. A school bus camera video management system also allows providers to tap into live camera views to help determine the proper response in real-time. Bus camera systems often have wireless connectivity and live streaming capabilities so bus behavior and driver safety can be seen via a live feed.

Internal bus cameras with advanced analytics can leverage AI to help security teams with object and vehicle classification via license plate recognition, accurately identifying the types of vehicles or pedestrians involved in school bus incidents.

Bus dash cams

Bus dash cameras, fitted to the dashboard of the vehicle, are helpful for capturing the state of the road ahead should an accident occur. Footage from these dash cameras on buses can be revisited to gather an accurate picture of the events surrounding an incident, such as vehicles running through bus stop sign cameras, speeding or hazardous driving conditions, while also monitoring driver performance. If cloud-enabled cameras are used, school security teams can leverage cloud storage for CCTV cameras, allowing for remote reviewing and secured video records.

Dash cams on buses can also expose safety concerns that might pertain to the state of the road, or dangerous drop off locations. This innovative technology empowers educators and bus fleet operators to provide the best services to parents and students.

School bus stop cameras

Cameras installed at the bus stops themselves are promoting improved safety of children getting on or off of buses, and also while waiting for buses. Bus stops can be prime locations for criminals to prey on vulnerable children, but surveillance cameras installed at the bus stop can work to prevent theft, violence and other crimes against children. They are also useful to encourage better behavior among students, reducing bullying and other anti-social behavior.

Many districts now employ the use of security and surveillance technology on the street surrounding the physical bus stop location. Generally speaking, this helps to foster a culture of awareness and accountability where school children are concerned. But it can also work to improve the safety of school children and reduce incidents of crime in the community.

Bus stop cameras are beneficial for improving student visibility and reducing crime, and enable schools to monitor security for students during key points of transit as part of a larger video security system. 

Advanced security technology for school bus fleets

School bus security solutions are innovating and improving with AI analytics, resulting in more automated school bus safety. They are built with enhanced intelligence to help you make sense of what you are seeing, empowering you to detect, verify and act on critical events.

Sophisticated deep learning AI search engines for school bus cameras can sort through hours and hours of video to quickly locate a specific person or vehicle of interest. Some advanced analytics applications are also built with detection capabilities that can distinguish between people, cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Advanced security systems offer high-quality video footage with auto-backup of events, plus the ability to easily search for specific events. This can help to determine the root cause of an issue or accident while reducing the instances of wrongful accusations.

School bus camera systems — specifically cloud security camera systems for school buses— can provide real-time footage of the entire fleet. For a more complete picture of security across every aspect of the school, connect bus cameras to fixed school video security systems. Along with self-learning video analytics, this technology is delivering improved accuracy in both perimeter protection and in crowded, indoor environments.

Investing in the best school stop and bus camera systems

In addition to investing in school lockdown systems and other protective security measures, school bus security cameras are vital components of a school’s safety strategy. The best school bus camera systems include high-definition cameras and software with AI technology to allow you to modernize your entire fleet, while increasing student, driver and pedestrian safety. Keeping students safe is always a top priority, and investing in the right education security technology can help you get the information you need to resolve problems quickly and reliably while promoting safe behavior in the community. When carving out a budget for school stop and bus camera systems, consider applying for grants for school security improvements—this funding can help schools and universities implement the latest security technology on campus. Modern school bus camera technology can improve overall safety for individuals in the bus and on the road.

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