Beyond The Bell: School Bus Safety

Wednesday, April 25th 2012, 11:28 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City School buses have been outfitted with new security cameras to help keep children safer.

It's an extra set of eyes watching children on the bus.

"It gives the drivers more time to concentrate on driving," said bus driver Ronnie Jacobs.

The security cameras listen to and watch the driver, students and the door to make sure everyone makes it to school safely. Jacobs drives dozens of kids to school. He's happy to see the cameras installed in his bus.

"When children get on the bus, a lot of them ask, 'Are the cameras on?' and I say ‘Yes, anytime you see the green light on, they are monitoring our bus. So behave.'" said Jacobs.

With bullying as a major concern recently across the country, bus drivers in Oklahoma City are confident the cameras will decrease those problems, which often happens on the bus. After less than a month in use the surveillance footage already makes a difference.

"It's helped clear up a couple of matters. They can actually see how they're behaving and it just makes a little better impact," Jacobs said.

Transportation Director Scott Lane says it's simple, when kids know they are being watched they tend to behave better. And the same goes for the bus drivers

"I kind of think that all of us every now and then need a little help, reminders, and this can be a reminder for drivers just to remember to do everything they're supposed to," said Jacobs.

Oklahoma City Public Schools paid for the surveillance cameras with a bond measure that passed back in 2007. It cost $279,000 to install three cameras in all of the 200 school buses used on a daily basis. They stress, no particular incident led to putting the cameras on the buses.

The buses will soon be outfitted with GPS tracking devices that could improve route and fuel efficiency. That system will be paid for with funds from the same grant as the surveillance cameras.