Accountability plays a key role in BusPatrol’s mission
Making the roads safer for students is one of the main priorities of BusPatrol and for David Poirier, President of BusPatrol America, accountability lies at the heart of that safety.
“We want to stop people from illegally passing school buses, and there’s an education process with that,” he said, “A lot of the time, people only learn the laws when they take they’re 16 or 17 years old driver’s test, then they’re never educated on that again.”
Poirier’s emphasis on holding drivers accountable as a fundamental basis for ensuring road safety could be credited to his background in law enforcement. As an officer in the Army for 21 years, Poirier understands the challenges that law enforcement faces when it comes to the roads.
“The problem everywhere in North America is that there are lots of bus stops on busy roads, and there’s not enough police to enforce the law. People think they can pass school buses and they don’t have to stop,” he says.
Though dangerous, Poirier is convinced that reckless drivers are not acting out of malicious intent.
“I think there’s a fair amount of drivers who just don’t understand the law. They don’t know when they should stop, or how far behind the bus they should stop,” he said, also noting that distraction plays a huge role, “There are others that are texting or they’re late for work, and they self-rationalize. They don’t see anybody in the middle of the road, they don’t see any kids, so it’s okay to pass the school bus and they won’t get caught.”
So how does BusPatrol help? By holding drivers accountable and working with community law enforcement. It’s the enigma of the consequence: when a school bus becomes a SmartBus, capable of video recording and transmitting licence plate data, when drivers know they’re going to get caught and that there will be consequences to them illegally passing a school bus, the number of infractions drops dramatically.
Poirier highlights the work they did with Montgomery County, Maryland, as a benchmark.
“They already had a stop-arm camera enforcement program for two years, but they really liked our technology. The year preceding our involvement, they had issued 1,500 tickets. In 2017, I think we are over 30,000 tickets just for that year. So we’ve had a significant increase in catching people illegally passing school buses, but here’s the key: 98% of the people who get caught, don’t get a second infraction.”
It’s a process, Poirier says, but it’s encouraging to see the changes over time. When BusPatrol implements a program, at the beginning they see many drivers who just blow by school buses without even hitting the brakes. But over time, that behaviour changes. Thousands of hours of video show the evolution of their work, and drivers consistently slow down and stop earlier.
“It’s a good feeling,” he says, “You know you’re program is working. You’re making a difference.”
To find out how you can collaborate with BusPatrol in your community and make your roads safer, click here.
BusPatrol is a technology company that turns a school bus into a SmartBus, equipped with GPS, telemetry and video recording. They collaborate with local law enforcement to help stop stop-arm violations and keep our roads safe. Follow the conversation on social: #BusPatrol #RoadSafety #SafeRoads