• Securing School Bus Fleets with Intelligent Dash Cameras and GPS Tracking

Securing School Bus Fleets with Intelligent Dash Cameras and GPS Tracking

K-12 schools all over the world face a myriad of threats, from both inside and outside the campus walls. Weather phenomena like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires make up their own frightening category, with the likelihood of occurrences increasing year over year as our climate crisis progresses. (Cyber)bullying and gang violence pose a different, more insidious kind of risk, which, if left ignored, can result in psychological and physical harm to students, and maybe even death. Student drug use is a tale as old as time; according to the CDC, 15% of high school students have reported using illicit or injection drugs (i.e. cocaine, inhalants, heroin, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, or ecstasy), thrusting their long-term health and wellness into uncertain light. But in the year 2020, the top risk to student health and safety in grades K-12 is gun violence.

Since there is no universally accepted database with school gun violence occurrences, last year CNN built their own, and examined 10 years’ worth of shootings on K-12 campuses, where they found that at least 180 schools in the U.S. have experienced an instance of gun violence since 2009. Through this, they discovered two concerning truths: school shootings are increasing and no type of community is spared. Although these numbers have dipped dramatically as schools have closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that does not mean that the problem has gone away. I’ve previously explored this issue in another blog post where I propose a solution to this problem using our cloud-based, AI powered security cameras to anticipate threats and cut down on emergency response time. But with Monarch’s growing arsenal of machine learning security products, we can take things a step further to make sure the ENTIRE campus is secured, and can be monitored from any browser or device.

If you think about it, the school day does not necessarily start once a child steps onto the campus. For many kids, they take the school bus to and from school, so there is a good 30-60+ minutes a day, depending on where you live, where children are in transit and technically in the care of the school. So if something out of the ordinary happens on or to a school bus while it’s en route, it’s in the school’s best interest to be abreast of the situation and proactively ahead of it to ensure the utmost care and safety for the school children. Although accidents on or around school buses are not as common as gun violence at schools, of the people injured in school bus-related crashes from 2008 to 2018, about 36% were school bus passengers, 8% were school bus drivers, and 51% were occupants of other vehicles. For any type of vehicle accident, having video evidence of the occurrence can help protect innocent parties from legal repercussions, and can provide justice and peace of mind for families as well.

*Samsara AI Dash Cam has entered the chat*

An intelligent dash camera that was manufactured for truck driving fleets can now be used to secure school bus fleets as well. With so many capabilities and features, Samsara’s dash cameras use dual-facing lenses, AI technology, g-force accelerometer data, and smart audio alerts to target 4 main pain points for truck and bus drivers:

  • Distracted driving: Audio alerts remind drivers to focus on the road if and when they become distracted

  • Tailgating: AI technology and computer vision detect and proactively coach drivers when they follow vehicles too closely

  • Rolling stops: Advanced computer vision detects when a vehicle doesn’t come to a complete stop

  • Harsh driving: Harsh braking, acceleration, turning, and collisions are automatically detected

Granted, the circumstances between long-distance truck driving and school bus routes are very different, but Samsara dash cameras can still easily benefit school bus fleets, specifically in gaining visibility into critical events. Using video evidence to defend innocent drivers against false claims prevents costly legal battles and unnecessary payouts, and can also garner justice if an injury or death of a child occurs. The install for a Samsara dash cam takes only minutes, with simple mounting and no complex electrical wiring or IT configuration, allowing for immediate use and results.

Another tactic to use for school bus fleet security is Samsara’s GPS tracking, which also comes with numerous other fleet optimization capabilities like:

  • Leveraging weather and traffic data to guide drivers accordingly

  • Monitoring fuel levels and idle times with insightful reporting

  • Diagnostic alerting with preventative reminders to avoid breakdowns

With real-time GPS fleet tracking and a helicopter view of the moving vehicles, you can track arrivals and delays down to the second. This is helpful in the event of a missing or delayed school bus, and keeps both school administrators and parents in the loop of any abnormalities on the school bus route, providing peace of mind for everyone.

I wrote before about “Connected Schools” and the various AI-powered solutions that form a secure and reliable defense around the whole campus. Why not take security a step further by outfitting school bus fleets with the same type of technology? The cost of implementing preventative measures almost always outweighs the cost of what could happen if such defenses were not in place.

Updated: Apr 16

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