will almost always take the side of the professional bus or truck driver. While I can not say that I have never seen a bus or truck driver doing something dumb, I will say that most experienced commercial drivers typically know what they are doing. Over the years I have driven scheduled transit and suburban routes, scheduled intercity coach routes, charter and tours. Most commercial drivers with reasonable experience know what they should and should not do. This is not always the situation with non-commercial drivers, which is why a vehicle event data recorder could come in handy.
A recent case in point came at the start of the Labor Day weekend in 2009 when I was driving one of my coaches north through Wisconsin so my family could spend a day or two at Mall of America. Rolling north of Madison, I noticed several motorcycles that seemed to be scattered
up and down the road. Two were parked on the right shoulder ahead when a third motorcycle came around my coach on the left. Seeing his two friends on the right shoulder, the motorcyclist started hitting his brakes and began pulling over to the right in front of my coach.
My heart skipped a beat or two when I saw his back tire was no more than a foot from my front bumper. Fortunately, disaster was averted when I made an immediate and heavy brake application and gained some valuable clearance between the motorcycle and my coach. This was one situation where a vehicle event data recorder would have come in handy had the situation not been resolved as well. My guess is that most of the commercial drivers reading this have had similar situations with automobiles. The vehicle event data recorder would have provided indisputable proof of what transpired in the event of an accident.
A vehicle event data recorder can also be used to monitor your driver. There are two separate advantages to this. The first is in the area of training and driver evaluation. You can review the video from the vehicle event data recorder to watch how your driver performs to see if any additional training or other action is necessary. This can be combined with GPS mapping to determine that the driver is following the correct or most appropriate route.
A second advantage of monitoring your driver is that it almost always leads to better driver performance. If a driver is aware of being recorded, he or she will be more likely to do the right things and less likely to do the wrong things. Numerous companies that have installed driver
monitoring equipment have found this to be true. Monitoring drivers would be particularly helpful if you are having difficulty with drivers using cell phones or handling fare collection in an inappropriate manner.
You can also watch and listen to the passengers on your coach. You hope that you never have an incident, but if you do, you can watch bad passenger behavior, aggressive actions and record abusive language. This is increasingly popular on school buses but we are seeing it more often on transit buses and on intercity coaches. Again, we have been told that recording the passengers on a vehicle event data recorder tends to make the passengers more self-conscious and less likely to cause an incident.
The Glocam from Glonex is a simple and inexpensive way to add a vehicle event data recorder to your bus. Glonex is a subsidiary of KOS, a large stainless steel wire manufacturer that has been in business since 1970 with more than $240 million in sales annually covering several divisions worldwide. Glonex has offices in Suwanee, Georgia, just northeast of Atlanta, and ships from this location.
Most bus operators can get everything they want, and more, by using the Glocam. It is a one-time purchase in the area of around $300 or less and requires no monthly fees and no monitoring fees. It can be installed fairly quickly and needs only a source of power – either a cigarette lighter or a more permanent pair of wires.
There are two different models of the Glocam. The GC1 records activity outside the vehicle along with audio inside. The GC2 records the same activity as the GC1 plus it will also record video inside your bus using a wide angle lens that will rotate more than 250 degrees. Both models of the Glocam typically mount on the windshield of your bus but are relatively tiny and easily go unnoticed. They are only 2.1 inches wide, 3.8 inches long and 2.23 inches high. Both will record GPS information as well as video and audio.
Once your Glocam is properly installed you need not worry about additional expenses. There are no supplies, no monthly fees and no additional costs. Glonex does offer call-in support if you encounter a difficulty. They also offer firmware and software updates as well as questions and answers on their Web site.
While the two Glocam recorders will work well in most normal applications, Glonex does offer three more sophisticated systems for special applications.
The Gemini™ system received its name because it offers twin cameras and two-channel recording. It is used to simultaneously capture video both inside and outside of a vehicle and can be mounted inside the vehicle to the roof or windshield. Gemini offers multiple angle lens adjustment and comes in several models that use either an SD card for memory or a hard drive.
The SEE4™ model is designed for those who require long-term recording solutions. Essentially a mobile DVR, the SEE4 has a 500 gigabyte key locked hard drive that has a capacity of approximately 30 days of auto/video data when operated four hours per day. It can handle as many as four channel video and audio inputs.
Real time event data recording is available with the MVT100 model. It records both audio and video as well as location, speed and other data and then transmits this data back to your office via a 3G network so it can be monitored. Your fleet manager, dispatcher, or other member of your staff can monitor the location of your bus, its speed, driving behaviors, audio and video as it is happening. This information can be stored in a computer and reports can be created for each driver.
Copyright 2011 National Bus Trader, Inc.