In 2020, GPSLockbox® became part of a collaboration with BusPatrol to combine their state-of-the-art technologies to help reduce stop-arm violations that put school children in danger at bus stops. The result is a no-cost solution that drives down incidences and corrects driver behavior.
Located near both the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas, the Carroll County Maryland school system is the 10th largest school system in the state. Despite its proximity to major cities, the school system is considered to be in a rural area but is quickly becoming suburban.
This changing landscape has increased daily commuting and commercial and light industrial development within the county, ultimately resulting in more traffic—and drivers who are in a hurry.
Every day in Carroll County, on average there are 112 vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses while students are getting on or off the bus, putting children’s lives in danger. With a school year of 180 days, that is an astonishing 20,160 violations and near-misses in one school year, in a single county. Additionally, the speed of vehicles on the rural routes are significantly faster, reducing the likelihood of stopping in time, and increasing the potential of severe injuries. While the number of incidents caused by the violation are low, the possibility for serious injury or death remains high, creating anxiety between school bus drivers and motorists sharing the road.
Reducing the occurrence of stop-arm violations has traditionally been a challenge since it requires aligning the multiple layers of responsibility. First, motorists are either not aware of the law or purposely do not comply with the law. Second, violations go unreported or underreported because school bus drivers are unsure of the specifics of the law and reporting procedures, or they do not feel as if their reports are taken seriously, leaving drivers unmotivated to make further reports. Lastly, violations are not always enforced by the law because they may be uncertain of the accuracy of a civilian-reported violation, and they have difficulty enforcing a stop-arm violation if they did not witness it personally. Also, judicial officials may reduce the charge or throw out cases entirely for insufficient evidence.
BusPatrol, a safety tech company that uses HD video and archiving to capture evidence and increase driver accountability and student safety, was on a mission to address the problem of stop-arm violations from all levels.
To help school systems like Carroll County overcome the challenges of reducing stop-arm violations, BusPatrol created a school bus camera technology program that fosters a culture of responsibility and awareness on the road. The attached cameras monitor up to 8 lanes of traffic, with additional exterior cameras capturing and recording the windshield view, passenger loading zone, and rearview. The technology allows for video recording, closed live-streaming, sensor data collection and emergency alerts. In addition, BusPatrol prints and sends the tickets under the guidance of the local law enforcement and manages the collection of the fees for the citations.
Source: BusPatrol News | BusPatrol.com
BusPatrol had the camera technology and the infrastructure but were faced with the challenge of finding reliable, crystal-clear broadband connectivity that would operate in rural areas, as well as voice communication and location-based services. They needed some crucial partners to collaborate with to provide a full suite of bus safety tech—starting with GPSLockbox, manufacturers of in-vehicle device mounting products, and resellers of Sonim phones. With over 40 years of experience in the wireless and telematics industry, GPSLockbox remains at the forefront of mobile mounting solutions and can help deliver a complete solution for enhanced safety, communications, and stop-arm data that is vital to Carroll County School System’s commitment to reducing stop-arm violations.
GPSLockbox is uniquely positioned in the school bus industry with their standard-setting vehicle-mounted cases and cradles.
Because school bus drivers are prohibited by law from holding phones or tablets in their hands, they rely on rugged mounting systems like GPSLockbox for their complete communications solutions, while maintaining compliance with current distracted driving laws.
GPSLockbox mountings turn smartphones and tablets into a two-way radio with a safe push-to-talk (PTT) system and include an ergonomic palm mic to communicate effectively and appropriately, ensuring that Carroll County’s bus drivers can put the safety of their pupils above everything else, while still being able to communicate effectively.
Rounding out the collaboration is FirstNet wireless broadband connectivity to support the push-to-talk and fleet management applications. FirstNet is a private network reserved for first responders and public safety offices, including school districts.
While this technology will make transporting pupils to and from school safer, the challenge for Carroll County, or most school districts, is funding the cost of the program—including purchase, installation, maintenance, and management. The price tag to equip all 311 Carroll County Public Schools buses is an estimated $1,000,000.000.
As part of its mission to create a culture of responsibility and awareness on the road, BusPatrol offers this stop-arm violation program at zero cap cost to the school district.
The cost of the installation of equipment, maintenance and management of the stop-arm cameras and other technology will be covered by the fines collected for violations of the stop-arm law. The equipment on each bus includes:
- GPSLockbox case, amplifier, speaker, Push-to-Talk (PTT) with palm mic, mounting kit and Sonim phone.
- BusPatrol provides 6 cameras inside and outside bus
- FirstNet cell air and data
By leveraging GPSLockbox’s communication and mounting systems and BusPatrol’s cameras, ticketing infrastructure and coordination with law enforcement, Carroll County School Districts are able to make going to school safer for their students. As a result of this no-cost stop-arm violation program, Carroll County School District can benefit from the following:
- Safe, hands-free communication for school bus drivers.
- Deters motorists from repeat violations by 90%.
- Reduces stop-arm violations by 30%.
- Discourages bad behaviors on the back of the bus.
- Provides documented evidence for law enforcement.