Focus on Bus Driver Safety

In October, Seon first launched a campaign to Stop Violence Against Drivers to help the transportation industry make transit safer for operators. Since then, we’ve gathered a toolkit of expert opinions and helpful resources to help reduce the risk to your workforce and your organization:
Seon, Stop Violence Against Drivers

Discussing Best Practices

A month ago we started a LinkedIn discussion on what training and tools transit agencies provide to drivers to protect them from violence and on-board assaults. We were excited to see that that this topic attracted the attention of transportation professionals from all over the world who contributed some of their best practices and expert advice.

As it was pointed out, the focus of training should always be on assault prevention and conflict resolution. Professionals mentioned that the most effective tools for immediate driver defense are installation of indoor and outdoor cameras, alarm buttons, barriers or security screens, and fleet GPS tracking. Best agency training practices include voice judo (verbal conflict resolution) courses, as well as role playing on how to deal with difficult customers or terrorist attacks. This training can be performed in a classroom setting or on location (for example, in a mock driver’s cabin) with actors playing different types of passengers to test various techniques of driver response to the offender’s actions. This type of hands-on training is preferable based on the assumption that the trained person remembers only 10% of what he/she reads, but 90% of what he/she does.

It was also discussed, that several helpful courses and materials for driver protection and customer service improvement are provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the National Training Institute (NTI) and by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) Transit Ambassador Program. You can read more about these programs and training sessions here:

1)      NTI for FTA –

2)      CUTA –

Strategy Check-up

To provide transit agencies with some successful strategies for bus driver protection, we’ve created a 3-minute video on “Making Transit Safer for Bus Operators”. You can watch it both in our blog and on Seon’s YouTube channel.

Sharing Ideas

To bring together transportation professionals who are interested in sharing their opinions, knowledge, and resources on public transit safety and the protection of bus operators from assaults, we’ve created an open professional LinkedIn group, Stop Violence Against Drivers. You are more than welcome to join our community and participate in group conversations where you can receive or offer advice and learn different points of view on transit safety issues:

Free Resources

As a part of our campaign, we’ve created a free on-line resource page that you can access here:

You will find links to research and best practices, legislation and industry working groups, as well as information on relevant awareness campaigns.

To get the most recent updates on our Stop Violence Against Drivers campaign progress, follow us on our Social Media accounts in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ where we encourage you to share your stories with other transit agencies using the hashtag #SafeTransit.

Vlada Terenina
Marketing Coordinator | Seon

Vlada Terenina

“A Bully-Free Zone” Coloring Contest, Seon

Seon’s “A Bully-Free Zone” Coloring Contest: Second Year Success

With National Bullying Prevention Month over, we are excited to announce the results of our “A Bully-Free Zone” coloring contest. As in 2013, this year our team received an impressive number of creative artwork from children across Canada and the United States. From beautiful drawings and inspiring discussions at schools we can see how truly our participants care about creating a safe and respectful community without bullying.

“A Bully-Free Zone” Coloring Contest

How You Made a Difference

In 2013, we launched the “Bullies Aren’t Cool” coloring contest to engage educators, children, parents, school bus drivers, and transportation staff in inspiring conversations and activities to prevent bullying. We were impressed by the number of responses and entries that we received and by the interest of the community in this important cause. To further spread awareness about bullying, to create safe and respectful environment for youth, the “A Bully-Free Zone” coloring contest was launched in October 2014. And again, a year later, the contest was a huge success.

We noticed how much effort, creativity, and heart were put into each work and it inspired us to grow our anti-bullying movement for years to come. Our team is sincerely thankful to both the children who colored the drawings, and adults who educated and encouraged young participants to support the campaign.

What about the Results?

During the month-long contest we received over 500 entries from almost 50 school districts across Canada and the US. What a tough competition to judge!

Based on creativity, coloring skill and overall artistic abilities, Seon staff has selected winners in three age categories: 5–7, 8–10 and 11 and older. The contest results will be announced on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at the annual NAPT Conference & Trade Show, where Seon will be presenting advanced safety technologies in pupil transportation. The announcement will be followed by a post on our web-site, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages. Each winner will get one Seon safety bear and one official anti-bullying supporter medal. Seon will also award a Bully Project DVD and Educator’s kit and a $500 donation to go towards anti-bullying education for the school of the winner in each age category..

Once again, we thank everyone who took part in our “A Bully-Free Zone” Coloring Contest and we wish good luck to all participants! And although the competition is over, our team will continue working with school communities to prevent and stop bullying.

 Join our anti-bullying movement and get free resources to support the campaign at

Vlada Terenina
Marketing Coordinator | Seon


5 Great Ways to Protect Bus Operators from Assaults , Seon

5 Great Ways to Protect Bus Operators from Assaults

With the increased number of crimes on transit vehicles, protection of bus operators from violence has become one of the top priorities for transit agencies. Assaults cause physical injuries and an increased level of stress for the driver, as well as have a financial impact on the transit system in terms of lost work hours, medical claims, employee absenteeism, and lawsuits. Although the list below is not exhaustive, it presents some of the most efficient strategies to prevent or stop volatile situations on board. And though some of the solutions require an up-front investment, the return on them might greatly surpass the expenditures.

5 Great Ways to Protect Bus Operators from Assaults , Seon

  1. Video and Audio Surveillance

Statistics show that the installation of video and audio surveillance equipment on buses is considered to be the most effective measure in the prevention of operator assaults. By choosing cameras with high image quality, and placing them strategically around the bus, transit authorities can capture everything that happens on the route. Newer digital video recorders (DVRs) with sufficient recording capacity can capture several weeks’ worth of bus activities and offer simplified tracking, viewing, and video archiving capabilities. The most advanced equipment also allows remote access to the camera system to stream live video. This technology can help prevent a volatile situation from happening or can alert law enforcement of a problem and dispatch help to the vehicle in case of an incident.

vMax View Monitor, Seon, bus camera

As Halifax Transit Security Manager Doug Mosher notes, “Bus cameras provide added safety for drivers and passengers; the systems are a huge deterrent for criminal activity on buses”. Sometimes even seeing a camera can stop an attack.

In addition, video monitoring helps in the investigation of violent events on the bus. For example in 2013, three young passengers started a verbal dispute which turned into a physical fight with shooting on a Metro Transit bus in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The vehicle was equipped with cameras and as police representatives noted, “the video on the bus was instrumental in allowing us to identify who these persons were and arresting them as quickly as we could.” (Read more about the accident)

  1. Installation of Barriers

Attacks on drivers often begin with confrontations over the non-payment of a transit fare. Barriers partially shield the operator from passengers and serve as an immediate protection in case of attack. This type of shielding is widely used in European countries and it’s gaining more and more popularity in the US and Canada. For example, TransLink is undertaking a pilot project in Metro Vancouver to install bus driver barrier shields on a number of bus vehicles towards the end of this year.

  1. Provision of Self-defense Tools

In some cases drivers might need special tools for an immediate defense from a sudden assault. Depending on the legislation in a certain area, bus operators, especially those working late hours or in problem neighborhoods, might be allowed to have pepper sprays or pepper gels on-board. In Canada these tools are classified as a prohibited weapon, but in certain states in the United States they might be provided after a specific training. It’s also recommended to have cameras on board to prove the necessity of pepper spray usage.

Another efficient tool is having an emergency alarm button on board that allows the driver to call for assistance. This feature can be integrated with the mobile surveillance system to simplify the retrieval of the recording and to identify the exact location of the incident.

  1. Self-Defense Training

Transit drivers will feel safer at work if they learn different techniques to defend themselves in case of an attack. It should be mentioned though, that such training can subject the agency to civil or criminal liability, so it is important to have a trainer with a law enforcement background (for example, a police officer).

The defense is based on a few principles:

1) The operator is usually in the seated position and the assailant can only reach him from one side;

2) From such a specific angle it’s harder to knock the operator who also has emergency alarm tools.

Such training can include a practical course, video and audio materials, handouts, quizzes, and tests.

  1. Customer Service Training

Very often a conflict on board might be avoided if the driver knows how to recognize the signs of an assault or a volatile situation and makes an effort to prevent it. Sometimes just maintaining a professional demeanor and staying calm is sufficient enough for stopping a hostile customer, in other cases it’s better to use some special techniques to defuse a potential assault. A comprehensive training program may include instructions and videos, discussions of various dangerous scenarios and courses of actions to be taken, provision of handbooks and bus rules of conduct, specific communication techniques, and other methods.

Want to learn more about transit safety and bus operators’ protection? Join Seon’s campaign to Stop Violence Against Drivers and sign up for weekly tips on how to reduce the risk to your workforce and your organization.


Vlada Terenina
Marketing Coordinator | Seon


How School Bus Cameras Can Help in Accident Reconstruction

It was a regular Wednesday afternoon for Clayton County bus driver Terry Pettiford, who had just dropped the children off after a volleyball game and was coming back to the bus yard. She was driving down Panhandle Road when all of a sudden a red car crossed the center line and sent the bus off its track into a home.

The video from Seon’s on-board camera system captured those terrifying seconds when Terry Pettiford had to decide where to turn to avoid a head-on collision, then swerved left and struck a house. She had two choices: go to the right, into the park which was full of kids, or choose the left side. As seen on camera, the left turn took the bus directly into the garage of the house that belongs to Tom and Barbara Essinger. The driver saw the roof coming down, and as the glass started shattering, she screamed and tried to protect her eyes.

Luckily, there were no children on the bus and no one was severely hurt in the accident. Barbara Essinger, the homeowner, injured her knee by being thrown from her couch by the crash, and Terry Pettiford, the bus driver, got several bruises  – although the emotional stress over the accident lasted much longer.

“I thank God every day I was able to live through that,” Terry Pettiford said to Atlanta’s 11Alive reporters later.

The windshield camera video served as a great evidence to prove the innocence of the bus driver, whom locals called a hero. The video recording was used in the police investigation to confirm that the driver of the red car initiated the accident. Even the owners of the house – the Essingers, understood the situation and the choice of the bus track. Terry Pettiford could have driven into a park with lots of kids, but instead she turned the vehicle into a garage.

Seon’s school bus camera systems capture video and audio of exactly what’s happening on board and let drivers keep their eyes on the road. Having high-definition, quality mobile surveillance equipment, and placing it strategically inside and outside of the vehicle, ensures that everything that happens on a route is captured and recorded. The camera body is designed to protect it from wreckages and the video image stays clear even in low-light conditions, which can be extremely important in the emergency situations.

The company’s video playback software allows authorized personnel to pinpoint the exact time and location of the accident, vehicle speed, turn signals and braking. The data from the camera system can be saved and archived, and a video clip can be created for evidence.  Thus, installation of video and audio surveillance products can be a great solution to meet the challenges of today’s school bus environment.

Want to learn more about Seon’s mobile surveillance systems? Visit our web site or call us at 1.877.630.7366.

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Make Transit Safer for Operators at APTA Expo

Transit Operator AssaultsAccording to the National Transit Database, assaults against transit operators have increased by 31% over the past six years.  Driver assaults not only take a physical and emotional toll on the individual, but they can have a lasting financial impact on the transit system in terms of absenteeism, medical claims, and lawsuits. Although on-board technologies such as video surveillance and GPS fleet tracking can help deter crime and prevent operator assaults, more needs to be done to focus public awareness on the issue and encourage legislators to take a tougher stance on penalizing this type of violence.

What We’re Doing to Reduce the Risk to Transit Operators

Seon-pullup-banner-APTAWe want to bring attention to the issue and help you make transit safer for operators.  That’s why we’re launching a campaign to Stop Violence Against Drivers at APTA Expo this year.   The goal of this campaign is to bring attention to the issue and provide the transit industry with resources, education, and solutions to help stem the tide of violence against operators.

Throughout APTA Expo in Houston, TX, from October 13 through 15th, we’ll be handing out Stop Violence Against Driver buttons at our booth (#4059) to promote the campaign.  We’ll be sharing stories and best practices from other transit agencies via live tweets using the hashtags #SafeTransit and #SeonAPTAExpo.

We have also set up an online ‘campaign headquarters’ at to continue on the campaign after the show to help guide you to resources, other campaigns, and safety products that can help reduce the risk to your workforce and your organization.

How You Can Get Involved

There are three ways you can help us spread the word about our campaign to stop violence against transit operators:

  1. Seon Stop Violence Against Drivers ButtonStop by our booth at APTA Expo to get your campaign button

Look for the Seon sign and our bright purple banner promoting ‘Stop Violence Against Drivers’ at Seon booth #4059 to pick up your campaign button.  Wear it proudly at the show and even pick up a couple extra to bring back to others in your organization.

  1. Sign up for weekly tips on how to improve driver safety

Visit to sign up to receive a weekly email with tips and best practices on driver safety. Learn how other transit agencies have developed successful operator training programs, public awareness campaigns, and invested in safety technology to reduce the risk of operator assaults.

  1.  Social_mediaShare your #SafeTransit stories on Social Media

Whether you are active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ we’d encourage you to share your stories with other transit agencies using the hashtag #SafeTransit. Maybe you’ve developed a great program that has proven to reduce the risk of operator assault or have a personal story about the impact of operator assaults that can move others to action.

Together we can raise awareness and make a difference – the future health of our transit workforce depends on it.

SIgn up to receive weekly tips on driver safety

Lori Jetha


Lori Jetha
Marketing Communications Manager


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