School Bus Crash Surveillance Video Reviewed

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 09, 2012

In our continuing series analyzing real-world surveillance video, in this note, we examine footage from a recent school bus accident in Florida, in which more than two dozen student passengers, as well as the bus driver, were injured. This extremely dramatic video shows the moments leading up to the collision, and the immediate aftermath.

The Video

Here's the full video and news report (Video no longer available)

We see three issues with the video captured (or not captured) from this incident.

Fast Camera Switching Time

The first thing viewers will notice about this video is that it switches back and forth between the two interior cameras at an extremely fast rate, approximately twice per second. This is an older method of recording multiple cameras, instead of recording each channel independently on a multiple-input DVR. The net result of this is that the video is very difficult to watch, with the scene changing between front and rear cameras so quickly.

If you look carefully, the images from the two cameras actually "ghost" over one another, as can be seen here:

Lack of Interior Coverage

In addition to the fast switching time, the interior of the bus is poorly covered by the existing cameras. The bus driver is essentially completely out of view, making it difficult to assess his actions during the incident, and causing investigators to rely on eyewitnesses to confirm the circumstances of the crash. Cameras are not of the highest quality but provide acceptable video of activities in the bus. In the case of school buses, where passengers are known, identification-quality video is not as important, as the front camera captures detailed views of subjects as they enter the bus.

The arm in the video below is the only footage of the bus driver prior to the collision:

Lack of Exterior Video

The lack of any cameras on the outside of the bus leaves investigators without any record of exterior conditions during the collision. In this case, the front of the vehicle is the area of importance, but in some mobile recording applications, cameras are installed watching either side of the bus, as well as the front and rear, in order to view passengers entering and exiting the bus, as well as to provide footage of any collisions which may occur.

Steps for Improvement

With all the above issues in mind, we suggest the following improvements be made:

  • Multi-Channel DVR: Installing a recorder with enough channels for all cameras will immediately improve captured video. Not having to deal with the fast switching time will improve viewing of video for investigative video greatly.
  • Reposition Interior Cameras: Repositioning the camera viewing the front half of the bus so it's able to see the driver, as well as the interior would provide more usable video in cases such as this collision. This way, it could be known without doubt what the bus driver was doing leading up to the incident. Cameras with wide dynamic range capability could improve video quality somewhat, as well.
  • Add Front-Facing Camera: Adding a camera facing forward, through the windshield, would allow for clear video evidence in the case of collision.
  • Add Remote Access: The ability to remotely access video from the bus would potentially allow school staff to view video post-incident, as well as review video leading up to the incident. If integrated with G-force sensors on the bus, the recorder could also notify staff of the collision upon impact. See our review of Drivecam, a mobile video system designed for such monitoring.
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop [link no longer available] has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every...
Police Department Surveillance Manager Interview on Feb 28, 2019
Former Memphis PD Surveillance Manager, Lt. Joseph Patty retired months ago, but kept busy during his decades on the force, working to build up...
US City Sued For Hiding Surveillance Camera Map on Mar 08, 2019
UPDATE: The judgment is now in and updated information is at the bottom of the post. Should maps of public surveillance camera locations be kept...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
Casino Security Consultant Carl Lindgren Interview on Mar 26, 2019
For more than 20 years, Carl Lindgren [link no longer available] worked as a casino surveillance pro, while being active (and sometimes outspoken)...
Kidnapping Victim Rescued With Video From Ring Doorbell Camera on May 24, 2019
A kidnapping victim was rescued within 24 hours, with the police crediting video from a Ring Doorbell camera as key to solving the case. A girl was...
The Scheme Hikvision and China Importers Use To Avoid Tariffs on Jun 17, 2019
Hikvision and numerous China importers are avoiding 25% tariffs by including an SD card slot in their IP cameras to claim they are 'digital still...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
Covert Elevator Face Recognition on Oct 24, 2019
Covert elevator facial recognition has the potential to solve the cost and complexity of elevator surveillance while engendering immense privacy...
France Declares School Facial Recognition Illegal Due to GDPR on Oct 31, 2019
France is the latest European country to effectively prohibit facial recognition as a school access control solution, even with the consent of...

Most Recent Industry Reports

"Hikvision Football Arena" Lithuania Causes Controversy on Jan 24, 2020
Controversy has arisen in Lithuania over Hikvision becoming a soccer team's top sponsor and gaining naming rights to their arena, with one local MP...
Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020 on Jan 23, 2020
Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC International 2020, joining Milestone who dropped IFSEC in 2019. The...
Multipoint Door Lock Tutorial on Jan 23, 2020
Despite widespread use, locked doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and thousands can be misspent on locks that leave doors quite...
Avigilon Shifts Cloud Strategy - Merges Blue and ACC on Jan 23, 2020
Avigilon is shifting its cloud strategy, phasing out its Blue web-managed surveillance platform as a stand-alone brand and merging it with its ACC...
Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...