New Cameras Keep An Eye On Blount County School Bus Drivers

The Daily Times reported cameras installed on Blount County, Tennessee, school buses since Thanksgiving have already provided video evidence in about four incidents. 

Whether students are standing while the bus is moving, vandalizing the bus or fighting, two cameras record what happens.

“Every school system I’ve talked to says you’ll see a definite improvement in behavior once there are cameras installed,” said Kevin Wilner, transportation coordinator for Blount County Schools.

School officials only need to pull a memory card from the bus, replace it with blank one, and the bus can continue on its route. Then school officials can review the video on a computer.

The camera system, which cost $81,395, has been installed on 70 regular education buses, with the final three expected to receive cameras this month. One bus was repaired over the winter break, and a bus contractor recently replaced the other two buses.

“Most of the drivers pointed them out right away,” Wilner said, so students know the cameras are watching.

The school district wants students to understand the importance of staying in their seats while the bus is moving. “It seems really harmless until he has to stop suddenly,” Wilner said.

With the cameras, he said, “It will make for a much more peaceful ride for the driver and students.”

During the current school year, Blount County also has installed a GPS system on the school buses serving its students. That system updates the location of a bus every 30 seconds and provides a history of the route traveled, including any time the driver goes more than 20 percent over the posted speed limit or brakes harshly.

The school district leases those units for $32 a month per unit.

Last modified onWednesday, 04 January 2017 15:18