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Could an onboard video system improve bus safety?

Whether it's a public transit bus, school bus or a bus used for tours or private carriers, there are many safety concerns for bus passengers in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Although bus drivers are trained to safely operate these large vehicles and safety features are implemented to protect passengers in the event of a bus accident, steps should be taken to better understand the cause of these crashes so more improvements could be made.

Could an onboard video system improve bus safety? According to a National Transportation Safety Board report, it was suggested to use onboard video systems to help with accident investigation. However, it was found that while most commercial school buses and motor coaches are equipped with onboard video systems, many of them lack the capability to record useful video footage.

There are three major reasons why buses include a video system. The first reason is to monitor the behavior of the passengers and dissuade negative actions, such as bullying or theft. Second, video systems are used to monitor the traffic that surrounds the bus and observe whether the driver observes traffic laws. Lastly, video systems are used to enhance driver safety through feedback programs designed to correct any unsafe behaviors.

In order for these onboard systems to be effective in accident investigations and bus safety improvement, some shortcomings need to be addressed. According to the NTSB report, this means providing a video system that shows what is happening in front of the vehicle, show a view of all seating positions, including the driver, the ability to record at night, reduce jumps or skips caused by low frame rates, have cameras positioned properly and ensure cameras are routinely maintained.

Adopting these changes and addressing these shortcomings could help with bus safety programs and assist with bus accident investigation. It is important to understand the cause of the crash, and having an effective onboard video system could help with the investigation process. Additionally, this could help those harmed in the incident. Injured passengers have recourses following a bus accident, and a personal injury claim could help the injured party collect compensation for their losses and damages.

Source: Ntsb.gov, "Commercial Vehicle Onboard Video Systems," accessed Feb. 22, 2016

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