We are often asked by coach and bus fleet operators where they can place cameras in their vehicles. Of all vehicle types, the options for coaches and buses are extremely varied and should be considered based on 4 key considerations: Recording of journey footage, passenger safety/security, driver safety and vehicle security.
So, let’s look at these options in turn:
The most common concerns for passenger fleet operators is to record what happens while out on the roads. This will protect you against fraudulent and no-fault claims. The main request is for a forward-facing camera (fitted just at the top of the windscreen, where the rear-view mirror would normally be).
Many fleet managers think that a single forward ‘dashcam’ type camera will suffice for a coach/bus, but there are many reasons why this just isn’t the case. Have a read of these two articles and you’ll understand why:
However, the key aspect with these types of passenger vehicles is their sheer size. This means that a lot of things can happen around the vehicle that would be important contributing factors to an incident. For this reason we recommend a minimum of 4 external-facing cameras, which would include the front camera, plus 2 side cameras (facing back along the length of the vehicle) and a rear camera. It is possible to add extra cameras. These can be placed on the side of the vehicle near the rear, facing down, and also on the rear of the vehicle facing down, which gives an alternate view to the other rear camera, and covers the area very close to the rear panel.
In summary, if your primary purpose for fitting cameras to your coach/bus is managing risk, then you need at least front, 2 side cameras and a rear camera.
Any fleet operator that has a passenger carrying fleet should adequately protect themselves from criminal and legal issues. Placement of cameras inside the vehicle in strategic positions can capture any activities or situations. That footage can then be used in court if required.
For instance, many accidents occur during embarkation/disembarkation of the vehicle. The video will capture any untoward activities that caused the incident. Equally, you would want to ensure that you have footage of passengers who get aggressive or violent or do anything dangerous.
Cameras can therefore be placed at the front, facing back, and at the back, facing forwards. Additional cameras can be placed at other points along the length of cabin area. If the vehicle is a double-decker, this can be replicated upstairs and above the stairs itself.
Any vehicle that carries passengers has an increased risk of attacks or other violence/abuse towards the driver. Cases of road rage can also lead to physical attacks. In this case, cameras around the vehicle will not help if the driver is attacked in the cab.
If this is a concern for you, a dome camera installed inside the cab can capture the space and record anything untoward that happens.
A by-product of this is that, in the event of an accident, the driver will have evidence to show that they were paying attention to the road and were not on the phone or distracted in some other way.
Of course, the very presence of in-cab cameras has been shown to have a marked reduction in incidences of accidents caused by distraction and mobile use. So this is a win-win for fleet managers.
The nature of longer occupancy vehicles, like coaches, is that passengers will leave belongings in the passenger cabin and luggage can be stored in the storage compartment. This makes them a prime target for thieves. Cameras around and in the vehicle act as both deterrents and for evidence gathering.
Any camera system that does not have night vision is pointless. Additionally, you should look at a system that has ‘Delayed Switch-Off’. This allows the system to continue recording even when the engine is turned off. ProVision’s systems can be configured to run for up to 24 hours without engine power. Combined with night vision and signage on the vehicle, you have a powerful deterrent.
Obviously if you want to deter then the more cameras the better.
If the thief persists and breaks into the vehicle, you’ll want to be sure you record what they get up to. Cameras placed at the entrance areas will ensure you get a front-on view of the thief.
Additional to the cameras, ProVision DVR units accept multiple data inputs that will trigger ‘events’. This can include alarm, doors opening, storage door operating, reverse gear and indicators, among others. This allows you, the fleet manager to be immediately notified every time any doors are opened, say outside of normal hours and in turn this creates an event recording for review.