Florida organization aims to protect students, hold drivers accountable by adding safety technology to school buses

Florida organization aims to protect students, hold drivers accountable by adding safety technology to school buses

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A program is working to make school buses safer for kids following several recent accidents in Jacksonville.

Bus Patrol, which runs the worlds leading stop-arm enforcement program, wants to use the program’s technology to help hold drivers accountable in any situation that potentially can put kids at risk — although the recent accidents that have occurred haven’t been due to stop-arm violations.

The organization uses technology to identify drivers illegally passing school buses when stop-arms are deployed. Bus Patrol officials said since the beginning of the school year in Duval County, they have equipped 11 school buses with their technology and captured 688 violations across 99 different stops.

The CEO and Founder of Bus Patrol Jean Souliere said it’s their mission to equip every school bus to protect kids.

“Every one of those violations can lead to very dire consequences for families,” Souliere said.

A total of 11 students were sent to the hospital in October. The most recent accident was Thursday when eight Westside High School students and the bus driver were hospitalized after a crash that police are unclear of who is at fault.

In early October, three students were hurt when their school bus collided with a box truck on I-95. A day before that crash, a Clay County school bus was involved in a crash with two students, who were not injured.

In November 2021, a bus driver crashed into multiple trees with four kids on board. The kids were uninjured but the driver suffered minor injuries.

“Our technology is used in order to do accident reconstruction, and it goes well beyond the cameras actually, within our platform we can see the GPS of the bus, the speed of the bus, and watch the cameras while we’re looking at all this data as it happened. So we can see whether when the driver slammed on brakes or when they were hit and really give the tools for school districts and police to identify the cause of accidents,” Souliere said.

Souliere said the program is self-funded and is at no cost to school districts. The fines from violators fund the program, and the remaining money can go back to the school.

Souliere also said they need the help of the police, the school district and the community to push this program forward.

“We really are hoping that these pilots are shining an important light that motivates the legislature in the state of Florida to move and to act in a way that going to help make the world a safer place for our kids,” Souliere said.

Visit www.buspatrol.com to learn more about the program.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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