Q&A: Seon Discusses New School Bus Stop-Arm Enforcement Solution

0
6

With interest increasing nationwide on how to set up school bus stop-arm enforcement programs with local police and court systems, another partnership is coming to market to provide municipalities with solutions.Seon announced in late March that it and Illinois-based RedSpeed USA are teaming up to target motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.

With headquarters near Chicago, RedSpeed provides turnkey solutions for recording, reviewing and managing red-light violations that are caught on camera in 63 municipalities across Illinois. It also provides similar services for speeding violations in Maryland. The company is basically a “one-stop shop” for managing the entire process, according to a company spokeswoman, and essentially takes any responsibility for managing the program off the shoulders of school districts. After the Seon high-definition cameras capture a potential illegal-passing incident (as pictured above), RedSpeed reviews the video three times to determine if a violation likely took place per the local law. It then forwards the video to the local police department to verify the violation and write the citation.

RedSpeed then prints the ticket and mails it to the registered vehicle owner.

“For the average community, taking on printing and administration of violations would require a considerable amount of manpower they are not able to provide right now,” said Debra Beerup, director of marketing for RedSpeed.

She explained that the company also schedules all hearing requests from the accused, processes all contests by mail, scans archival footage and forwards to the hearing office, and processes all payments of fines via credit card paid by mail or online, while providing online and email confirmations.

We sat down with Lori Jetha, Seon’s marketing communications manager, to learn more about the partnership.

School Transportation News: How did this partnership come to pass?
Lori Jetha: Seon has been providing stop-arm camera equipment to the school bus market for the past two years. Many school districts have purchased and deployed Seon’s high-resolution exterior cameras in their efforts to capture stop-arm violators, working with local law enforcement directly to address the problem. We have had many successful deployments, but there are many districts that don’t have the resources to review video and complete the steps necessary to ticket and prosecute stop-arm violators. Since working with law enforcement and issuing tickets is not Seon’s core competency, we looked for a proven partner to work with to provide this piece of the solution. We looked at a number of companies that were in the camera enforcement arena for a potential partner.

STN: Why RedSpeed and vice versa?
Jetha: We wanted to work with a company that already had the staffing, processes and back-end processing technology in place to verify and issue tickets for stop-arm violations. We looked at a number of companies already involved in red-light or stop-arm camera enforcement, and based on our criteria, RedSpeed was the best fit. Their breadth of expertise in red-light enforcement solutions, their international presence (providing solutions in both the U.S. and United Kingdom), as well as their willingness to work together with Seon to provide a complete end-to-end solution to the school bus market, made them an ideal partner.

STN: What have you heard from school districts in regard to wanting more stop-arm enforcement options?
Jetha: We are seeing more interest from state legislators to enact legislation for stop arm violations, which is then pushed down to the municipal and school district level. And (having) more options is always better for the consumer. There are various business models available from Seon and Redspeed for stop-arm enforcement that will hopefully allow those school districts not already participating or who don’t have the resources to participate in a stop-arm camera program to get started.

Read more on this partnership in the May edition of School Transportation News

STN: Is the high-definition, high-speed camera Seon’s existing exterior camera or a new offering?
Jetha: The HD camera used in this solution was originally released in the spring of 2012, however there is additional hardware which makes up this new solution. The two companies have worked together to provide an integrated software solution. When a stop-arm violation is detected, video evidence will be automatically wirelessly uploaded to a central server for review by RedSpeed® authorized personnel. Once RedSpeed® has verified the violation, an evidence package is created and forwarded to law enforcement personnel for review and final approval. Once the ticket has been approved by the police, RedSpeed® will print and mail a ticket to the registered driver.

What is unique about this stop-arm solution is that the school district does not need to install a separate system for capturing stop-arm violations and a different DVR and system for their interior cameras. This solution allows the school district to preserve the chain of custody of their interior camera footage and only expose the exterior stop-arm camera footage to an external company for review and processing. This is something that many school districts have been asking for — a single system to protect students and drivers both inside and outside the school bus that doesn’t require an additional investment.

STN: Does this work with Seon’s existing vMax?
Jetha: The system works with Seon’s vMax Commander software suite, which is used to download the violations wirelessly when the bus returns to the yard. Additional software processes have been developed to allow RedSpeed to retrieve and review the violations downloaded and then pass along the video to law enforcement for verification and authorization to issue a citation.

STN: When does the pilot test start? Can you tell us the district?
Jetha: We have a number of pilot proposals pending in Illinois and possibly in North Carolina.

STN: Thank you.