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 www.seon.com/safetransit 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 www.seon.com/safetransit 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
Seon

 

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Back-to-school Bus Safety: Links to Great Resources to Keep Kids Safe

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The start of a new school year is a great time to educate parents and students about school bus safety. To help you out in refreshing your school bus safety programs, we thought we’d put together some helpful links to resources and information for drivers, parents, kids, and administrators. Hope you enjoy!

For Drivers

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For Administrators

For Parents

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For Students

Find out an easy way to educate your children about anti-bullying!

Lori_Jetha_sm

Lori Jetha
Marketing Communications Manager | Seon
lori.jetha@seon.com

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Seon’s Bus Camera Systems Now Ship with Anti-bullying Decal and Box Artwork

Seon staff

Seon is a proud supporter of anti-bullying education and awareness. In October, 2013, we started the, “No Bullies on my Bus” campaign with the goal to help stop bullying on the school bus. We have had tremendous results and appreciate the support received from the public.

Why we Support the Anti-bullying Cause

School bus cameras help deter bullying, and also capture it when it happens so that proper consequences can be determined. We are proud that our products promote safety on the school bus and help put a stop to bullying.

School Bus Anti-bullying Decals and Box Artwork

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Anti-bullying School Bus Decals

Our passion for the anti-bullying campaign is a significant piece of what Seon stands for as a company. Recently, we decided to make it a part of the Seon brand and identity. Our camera systems now ship with anti-bullying school bus decals. If our customers are permitted to put up decals inside of the school bus, they now have one decal that ships with every camera system (one decal per system). This decal states, “No Bullies on my Bus | Helping keep students safe”. We hope that by school buses displaying this message to students, it will help drivers, transportation staff, and school administration communicate that bullying is not permitted on their buses.

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Anti-bullying Artwork for Product Boxes

Additionally, our products now ship in boxes that have anti-bullying artwork on them to show our customers that our camera systems are there for many safety reasons, including anti-bullying. The artwork states, “Helping keep students safe | Seon supports anti-bullying.”

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For more information on Seon’s “No Bullies on my Bus” Anti-bullying Campaign visit seon.com/anti-bullying.

Tia O'Grady _sm

Tia O’Grady
Marketing Coordinator | Seon
tia.ogrady@seon.com

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4 Things Every Transit System Should be Doing to Protect Bus Operators Against Assault

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Today’s news headlines tell horrifying tales of bus operator attacks and injuries. According to the National Transit Database (NTD), operator assaults have increased by 31% between 2008 and 2013.  These attacks not only take a personal toll on the victims, but can have a significant financial impact on the transit system in terms of lost work hours, medical claims, employee absenteeism, and lawsuits.  These can also result in a loss of public confidence in the safety of the transit system and lead to decreased ridership and reduced fare box collections.

So what should you be doing to protect your workforce and your organization from operator assaults?  We’ve done the research and put together 4 must-haves for protecting your operators against violence:

#1 – Invest in On-board Technology

The Transportation Research Board’s publication “Practices to Protect Bus Operators from Passenger Assault” outlines a number of effective technologies:

  • Video surveillance, useful for deterrence as well as for identification and prosecution of assailants, is considered one of the most versatile and cost-effective measures against operator assault.
  • Audio surveillance is often integrated with your video system, and is particularly useful in addressing verbal attacks and threats.
  • Vehicle location or live tracking technology, especially when paired with a panic alarm or emergency notification system, can be useful in alerting and mobilizing Transit Security to attacks in progress.

#2 – Track Operator Assaults

The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) has been collecting data on operator assaults, primarily from the National Transit Database.  NTD data shows assaults on operators have increased by 31% from 2008 to 2013. While this database highlights a disturbing upward trend in operator assaults, it does not capture the full extent of workplace violence and does not document many minor assaults that don’t result in an arrest.

Every transit system should have some method of tracking assaults on operators in order to quantify and address the problem.  This tracking system should document:

  • The type of incident (spitting, punching, kicking, verbal assault)
  • Date, time, & location of the incident (to help establish trends & patterns)
  • Circumstances leading up to the assault (fare dispute, passenger altercation, crime)
  • Financial costs of the incident (lost work hours, legal costs, medical claims, counselling)

#3 – Train Drivers on How to Diffuse Volatile Situations

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Many assaults are related to fare disputes or enforcement of bus rules and start as an argument that escalates into violence.  Protection of bus drivers begins with making sure they have the right training and tools to diffuse a potentially volatile situation and prevent it from escalating to an assault.

A recent article in Metro Magazine outlines several successful strategies to prevent operator assault, such as emergency situation role-play and training on how to calm down a situation.  The article also recommends the importance of prominently displaying a Rider’s Code of Conduct and ensuring it is consistently enforced by operators, and supported by supervisors.

#4 – Join an Industry Working Group

Violence against drivers affects every transit system and many working groups have been developed to develop strategies to address the problem and lobby for legislation to protect drivers and increase penalties.

In June, representatives of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) appeared before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to testify in support of Bill S-221, an act to amend the Canadian criminal code (assaults against public transit operators).

Here are a few links to some groups working on the problem:

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To stem the rising tide of operator assaults we all need to work together to share best practices, support drivers with the right training and technology, and enact legislation to protect them.  Together we can keep public transit safe.

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.

Lori_Jetha_sm

Lori Jetha
Marketing Communications Manager | Seon
lori.jetha@seon.com

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