Willoughby-Eastlake Schools puts an emphasis on keeping kids safe

Getty Images Aa020107

By Patricia Nugent

There are 6,194 solid reasons why bus safety within the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools takes top priority.

That’s the number of students who are transported on 74 buses each school day.

“The safety of Willoughby-Eastlake students is paramount and implementing as many practices on school buses as we can to ensure that is critical,” says Superintendent Steve Thompson. “The evolution of safety features, combined with extensive driver training, helps to keep students safe as they travel to and from school. We are grateful for the commitment that Petermann Transportation gives to our district and for the personal attention that each of the drivers and aides gives to our students. Their dedication helps to keep students out of harm’s way.”

According to John Rinehart, who is general manager of Petermann, the variety of safety measures includes cameras, an innovative app called Bus Tracker, an auto brake sensor system and fire suppression system in the engine.

“Available for both students and parents, the free Bus Tracker app allows people to track their bus’s progress in real time,” says John.

He explains the DriveCam system consists of two cameras, one facing the driver and one facing the road. When a certain G-force is met—like a hard stop or sharp corner—the camera automatically clips a 12-second video (eight seconds prior to and four seconds after the G-force event). That’s sent to an independent company called Lytx for review, and then used for positive and constructive feedback to improve driver behavior.

“Another feature of the camera allows our drivers to manually hit a button when someone runs their red lights and take a 12-second clip,” he adds. “This allows us to provide the authorities with the make, model, color, sometimes the license plate, and time of the event.”

A secondary camera system, called Seon includes three cameras mounted in the front and back of the vehicle and one shooting out the service door to take wide angle captures as well as audio.

Look for these monthly stories to cover topics from grades K-12 in the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools System. Find out more at WESchools.org.