How can technology resolve repeated cases of children being left on school bus?
Updated: Jun 16
Most of us think that we're incapable of forgetting kids on vehicles. However, such horrible mistake has occurred many times when our small boys and girls are transported to and from school. Latest technology can provide an effective solution to stop this nightmare.
Media around the world has widely reported about kindergarten or elementary school pupils accidentally left on school buses. Sadly, some of them did not survive because of vehicular heatstroke when temperatures reached higher in hot days. In July 2018, a 3-year-old boy was found dead in a bus outside his day care in Texas, US where hot car deaths of children are a consistent problem . In June 2019, the news that a 6-year-old child died after being forgotten in a bus for several hours heavily shocked Dubai . Recently, a similar tragic incident has also sparked off controversy surrounding child safety on school buses in Vietnam.
Checking the bus before exiting is considered a compulsory action for any driver, especially when small kids easily fall asleep along the routes. But some drivers fail to perform correctly at the end of their journeys while school staffs or teachers are negligent in uninformed absences of children. In many countries, zero-tolerance policies were passed to require ultimate responsibilities of drivers or teachers who will get hefty fines even immediate termination if leaving one a bus. The school administrators also upgraded mechanics and retrained monitors on safety procedures to track student attendance. Nevertheless, tragedy keeps happening… It's because those solutions are typically hand-operated and humans occasionally do things wrong.
Thankfully, innovators of the fourth industrial revolution are making use of advanced technology to address this problem. They have brought out a platform named Bus Management System (BMS) which utilizes GPS vehicle tracking and ID card log to identify live-to-the-second location of buses also students. When entering and existing a bus, students will be helped to tap their cards with unique codes assigned on scanners to check for recognition. All data are continuously processed and updated to School Bus Portal which links schools, parents and bus drivers together.
To the school staffs, BMS provides tool to efficiently plan, manage and keep track of fleet schedule, count number of students, enhance security as well as receive immediate alerts in case of missing or emergency. Also synchronizing with check-in equipment at school gate, children will be made sure to arrive at right place. To the parents, BMS automatically informs which bus their children get on, whether they safely get off and whether teachers get notice of their presence via SMS/ mobile notifications. Parents can get driver info to contact if needed too. And to the drivers, BMS reminds them to walk back of the bus and do final check for safety. Optional attached cameras will help monitor happening events on the bus. Moreover, BMS modules can be simply integrated with other management information systems and facility controllers to create a full effective IT ecosystem for the schools.
Being a school bus driver who must deal with traffic jams, driving issues and noises of children at the same time is not easy at all. The schools should seek for qualified drivers who have much passionate, like children and really care about what they are doing. Besides, applying new technology like BMS is expected to help combat the possibility of "human error" for a child to be left in the future.