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Cameras installed on school buses
Durham Bus Cam1.jpg
Safety training supervisor David Kilgore with Durham School Services reviews footage from a closed-circuit TV camera from one of their school buses. The cameras can capture unruly student behavior and also determine if the driver is operating the bus appropriately. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Warren County school bus riders can smile. They’re on camera.

In continuing its efforts to improve safety and security, Durham School Services has installed cameras in its school buses to monitor activity inside and outside the bus.

Durham GM Tonia Radar provided the information to the School Board during a transportation report.

“We have installed CCTV cameras on every single bus in our fleet and that was completed last month,” said Radar. “The DriveCam cameras will be installed on every bus by the end of December.”

The closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras monitor the inside of the bus, while the DriveCam cameras will capture road-facing video.

According to Radar, these camera systems have many benefits, including holding bus drivers accountable. On the CCTV camera, every bus has to be checked randomly once a month. Around five buses a day are reviewed by safety training supervisor David Kilgore.

“It records the school bus signals so I can check if the driver has followed proper procedure including braking, speed and if the stop-arm was deployed,” explained Kilgore. “I can also monitor student and driver behavior during routes.”

Currently, Durham School Services staffs 58 bus drivers and 12 aides. Radar explained that as of next Thursday, they will have 55 routes.

“We had an issue over in the Centertown area with overcrowding so we will be adding another route – Bus 0857,” said Radar. “We have worked out the details and our goal is to get the students home as quickly and safely as we can.”

To remind drivers they are responsible for the “most precious cargo,” every Durham employee wears a gold 6 on their vest in memory of the six children in Chattanooga who lost their lives in a school bus accident.

“We wear it on our vest as a constant reminder that this is why we do our job,” said Radar. “That’s why this company sets the standards it does because we don’t want another child to lose his or her life due to a bus accident.”