Several school buses equipped with new cameras

Several school buses equipped with new cameras

This year Jenks Public Schools is making the ride to and from school safer.

Twelve buses will be equipped with cameras that give a 360-degree view of the vehicle. The new safety feature will ultimately usher in a generation of buses unlike any before it.

Cameras were installed on new buses using bond money. JPS will start out with 12 and add to the group until it is fully staffed with bus cameras.

Cameras on the front, back and both sides allow for a 360-degree overhead view of the bus. A screen inside the mirror of the bus shows what the cameras are detecting with two screens.

As drivers use turn signals or back up, the monitor will show a better view of the blind spots that can be hard to see.

“From a bus stop, when you come back into traffic, you turn on your left turn signal and you can see what’s beside you,” Director of Transportation Jeremy Hairrell said. “If there’s a car trying to pass you, while you’re going to get on a highway and you’re coming down an on-ramp and you need to move over to traffic, and you turn on your left turn signal. It’s a big vehicle, there are a lot of blind spots you’re trying to check, and this is just another way to check those blind spots and see what’s beside you.”

This technology is the latest from Safety Vision, a mobile video surveillance company. Safety Vision and Jenks have been working together for over a year to make this happen.

Last year Safety Vision came to Hairrell and pitched their new equipment. Right away, Jenks knew this was the correct technology to invest in.

With a new way to ensure the safety of children and others on the road, Hairrell says this gives everyone more peace of mind.

“At Jenks schools, we’re safety first,” he said. “Student safety is our number one priority. With that added piece, that’s all it took for me is to know you could save somebody’s life.

“A kid chasing a ball that rolls under the bus, drop a book bag and reach down to grab something. Now you can see what’s all around you.”

This camera technology is just the beginning of what buses will have.

The 12 buses with outside cameras are accompanied by three to five inside that watch the cabin. Soon, its likely cameras on the stop sign will be added to nab those who ignore it.

“That law is about to come into effect where you can use video to help,” Hairrell said. “These cameras will pick up some of it, but I see us in the future us going to the stop sign cameras. Those can be linked into this system.”

Hairrell ultimately believes adding the cameras will be well received among parents of children riding the bus.

“It makes the parents feel better, they know things are being watched, they can feel safer with their kids on the bus,” he said. “They feel safe knowing at a moment’s notice the principal can call us wanting to check on film. Whatever it could be, now we have an extra set of eyes watching everything that’s going on.”

Hayden Tucker

Hayden Tucker is the Sports Editor and Director of Media for the Jenks Tribune. He has three years of experience in newspaper journalism before joining the Tribune. Tucker was born in McAlester, then moved to the Oklahoma City area in 2010 where he lived for nine years prior to moving to Jenks.

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