Some $500 million was spent on video surveillance equipment in 2012, and that doesn’t even count accessories. A big driver of that spending is, well, driving. A significant portion of the video surveillance equipment being purchased these days is being used to equip vehicles: school buses, patrol cars, and commuter trains to name a few.
While school systems can use surveillance cameras to monitor child safety inside buses, some districts have found that the real need is on the outside. For example, Falls Church, Virginia, is using cameras mounted on buses to crack down on drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
Falls Church City Public Schools, the Falls Church Police Department, and American Traffic Solutions partnered in a project to address the problem. City officials say drivers ignore stopped buses average of 20 times each school day. “Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus,” the National Safety Council says.
Dashcams may Become as Common as the Seatbelt
Police departments want surveillance cameras installed in their patrol cars for a variety of reasons:
- Protect officers from false claims and departments from fraud
- Reinforce professional conduct and officer accountability
- Corroborate stories and document sequences of events
- Create indisputable and court-admissible evidence
- Simplify management of video and audio data
Already, many of today’s passenger cars are covered with cameras, looking in every direction. It may only be a matter of time until these cameras are seen as a standard safety feature, such as seatbelts and airbags.
Demand High for Surveillance in Public Transportation
Some purchases of new surveillance systems include those with audio capabilities. San Francisco transit authorities have approved a $5.9 million contract to install an audio surveillance system on 357 buses and vintage trolley cars. The contract includes the option to expand the equipment to an additional 600 vehicles. Concord, New Hampshire, used part of a $1.2 million economic stimulus grant to install its new surveillance system on buses. And Baltimore plans to roll out this system on at least 350 buses. Transit officials say the systems will help improve the safety of passengers and drivers and resolve complaints from riders.
So, let’s be safe out there. Not only is it the right thing to do, but chances are someone’s watching—just to make sure.