JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A program is working to make school buses safer for children after multiple crashes in Jacksonville.
Bus Patrol, which operates the world’s leading stop-arm enforcement program, wants to use the program’s technology to hold drivers accountable in all situations that can potentially put children at risk — although recent accidents have not resulted from stop-arm violations .
The organization uses technology to identify drivers illegally passing school buses when stop arms are deployed. Bus police officials said they have equipped 11 school buses in Duval County with their technology and recorded 688 violations at 99 different stops since the start of the school year.
Bus Patrol CEO and founder Jean Souliere said it is their mission to equip every school bus to protect children.
“Any of these violations can result in very dire consequences for families,” Souliere said.
A total of 11 students were hospitalized in October. The latest accident happened Thursday when eight Westside High School students and the bus driver were taken to the hospital after an accident in which police are unclear who is at fault.
In early October, three students were injured when their school bus collided with a pickup truck on I-95. A day prior to this accident, a Clay County school bus was involved in an accident with two students who were not injured.
In November 2021, a bus driver with four children on board crashed into several trees. The children were not injured, the driver suffered minor injuries.
“Our technology is used to reconstruct accidents and it actually goes well beyond cameras. Within our platform we can see the GPS of the bus and the speed of the bus and watch the cameras while we’re even looking at that data as it happened. This allows us to see if the driver hit the brakes or when they were hit, and really give school districts and police the tools to determine the cause of the accident,” Souliere said.
Souliere said the program is self-funded and free for school districts. Violation fines fund the program and the remaining money goes back to the school.
Souliere also said they need the help of the police, school district and community to move this program forward.
“We truly hope that these pilots will shine an important light that will motivate the Florida state legislature to move forward and take action to make the world a safer place for our children,” Souliere said.
Visit www.buspatrol.com to learn more about the program.
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