Mattawa to get stop-arm cameras on all its school buses

Mattawa, Ont., will be the first jurisdiction in Ontario to have stop-arm cameras installed on all of its school buses.

BusPatrol aims to change driving behaviour, says company CEO

Jean Souliere, chief executive officer of BusPatrol, says the stop-arm technology has been developed with the help of grassroots support. (Supplied by BusPatrol)

Pierre Ranger of Mattawa heads up the "Let's Remember Adam" campaign to remind people to stop for the school bus.

Twenty years ago, his five-year-old brother Adam was killed instantly when he was hit by a truck after getting off his school bus.

Ranger says the safety message that's been appearing on billboards for years doesn't seem to be getting through, so he's changing his focus.

"We're going to try to get stop-arm cameras on all the buses," said Ranger. "These cameras don't lie. So once people start getting tickets and this starts affecting them in the pocketbook then they might learn to stop."

No cost for stop-arm cameras

Ranger's hometown of Mattawa is soon going to be the first jurisdiction in Ontario to implement the stop-arm camera technology on all its school buses. And it's going to cost them absolutely nothing.

A Virginia-based company called BusPatrol is providing the equipment. Jean Souliere is the company's chief executive officer.

"So we go in and we pay for all of the installation, we pay for the equipment that we manufacture and then it is the ticket revenues that ultimately pay for the operating of the program," he explained.

"When we did our pilot in 2016 our Sudbury buses were capturing one violation per bus per day at a $400 fine," said Souliere.

Artificial intelligence is embedded in the cameras, the recorder, the computer and the DVR brain. (Supplied by BusPatrol)

"BusPatrol has built its own technology to address this specific, very dangerous traffic violation," said Souliere.

"We have artificial intelligence embedded in our cameras as well as in the recorder, the computer and DVR brain that is loaded inside every box to identify vehicles that illegally pass the stop-arm," he added. 

Souliere explains that the same artificial intelligence engine builds the evidence that police review to decide whether or not a ticket should be issued.

"We show these offenders via web links the evidence being used against them," explained Souliere. "They get to see the video of their car passing a stopped school bus and 97 per cent of people who see that video pay right away on the spot."

Souliere says the drivers of the vehicles are not identified because the tickets are issued to the owners of the vehicles.

Although BusPatrol is an American company, Souliere says it was founded in Montreal and the technology was designed specifically with the Canadian climate in mind.

Groundswell of family support

"We started our testing in 2015. There was a groundswell of support we had locally from the Ranger family in particular," said Souliere.

"We're really excited to be able to not only develop this technology with the help of such wonderful grassroots support, but we're particularly proud that Mattawa is going to be the first region in Ontario that deployed this solution," said Souliere.

Souliere says he hopes to have the stop-arm cameras installed on the Mattawa buses over spring break. "The bus drivers and the community there are going to be blown away by what we'll deliver to them," he added.

"We know it works and we know that we're going to be able to change driving behaviour in its application," said Souliere.

With files from Markus Schwabe


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