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What Happens When a Crowded Somerset School Bus Crashes? Depends on the Driver…

Row of yellow school buses against autumn treesSince 2012, Somerset County Board of Education policies call for security cameras to be placed on school buses and grounds. Usually these security cameras are used to detect wrongdoing, but during a January bus accident, the cameras aboard Somerset bus 19 captured a bus driver doing everything right.

Now bus driver Troy Brittingham is being hailed as a hero for keeping 20 students safe during a freak accident outside of Crisfield. A runaway trailer smashed right into the front of the school bus, and the video shows the shatterproof glass windshield bending inwards just inches away from Brittingham’s face.

His calm under pressure has earned him the gratitude of many parents, and according to Delmarva Now, “the Somerset County Public Schools driver maintained perfect control of the bus and himself, likely saving his own life and possibly those of students.” This March, the County Board of Education presented the driver with an official proclamation of appreciation.

“Not to hurt those kids, that was my first priority,” Brittingham said. “I wasn’t thinking about myself at the time.”

After the incident, the video shows Brittingham calmly helping the students, aged 11 to 13, evacuate the bus safely.

“He did everything right,” said Somerset Superintendent John Gaddis. “His evasive maneuvers not only saved his own life, but the lives of children on the bus.”

Security cameras like the one aboard bus 19 are becoming more common in local schools and vehicles around the country. Cloud-based software makes it easier for public agencies to afford these types of video technologies, and the International Data Corporation says that public cloud spending will reach $100 billion this year.

In 2015, Somerset County public schools experimented with another type of bus camera to help catch drivers illegally passing stopped school buses. For some drivers, warning lights, an extending arm, stop signs, and common public decency aren’t enough of a deterrent, so special stop sign cameras were installed on four often-passed school buses.

Whenever the stop sign was activated, the camera would turn on and take pictures of passing cars. Violators would have a ticket mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner.

For parents concerned about privacy, the official Somerset County Public school policy includes strict rules governing the use and viewing of video data.

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