Suffolk Transportation in Bay Shore, N.Y., is partnering with Child Check-Mate and Zonar to allow service managers to monitor in real time if sleeping children are left alone on school buses at the end of routes.
"We invest heavily in recruitment and training, and we have an excellent staff of professional drivers as a result. But we're all human, and even the most conscientious drivers make mistakes. So, this investment in technology is just another way we're helping to mitigate human error," said Tom Smith, drector of the School Bus Division at Suffolk Transportation Service.
The new system was commissioned by Suffolk Transportation to help safeguard the tens of thousands of student riders the company provides service to each day. If a driver completes the route but fails to detect children still onboard, Child Check-Mate's "Double Check" feature will activate once the child awakes and begins to move about the bus. It will turn on the interior lights of the vehicle, even if the bus is turned off. It will also speak to the child and will activate an alert from Zonar to the transportation department.
"We are very pleased that companies are making the investment in time and dollars to improve the safety and reliability of our student transportation," said Jacqueline Wilson, president of the Suffolk Region PTA and the local Bus Safety Advisory Board, both of which worked with Suffolk Transportation and the Lindenhurst Union Free School District on developing the custom solution. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our kids."
Suffolk Transportation said the custom solution not only meets the company's requirements but also addresses the needs of the stakeholders.
"The technology has evolved in a way that will enhance bus safety, and we as a district recognize that by utilizing this technology, we are significantly improving the overall welfare of our students," added Jacqueline A. Scrio, assistant superintendent for business and non-instructional personnel at Lindenhurst Union.