School Bus Crash Surveillance Video Reviewed

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 09, 2012

In our continuing series analyzing real-world sureveillance 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:

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.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact