Dubai: A trial run of remote monitoring system on school buses is all set to make students safer on Dubai’s roads, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday.

Giving authorities eyes and ears on schools buses, the system’s smart cameras, sensors and communication devices will add an extra layer of security for students on the road.

On trial since the beginning of the current academic year last month, the pilot phase covers 10 buses run by different operators.

According to the RTA, the step follows a broad-based field study of school buses in Dubai, aimed at enhancing the safety of students.

“This initiative involves installation of smart cameras, hi-tech communication devices and sensors in the interior and exterior of school buses, enabling remote monitoring of the buses by the Smart Transportation Monitoring Centre at Public Transport Agency,” said Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

Behroozian said the system will monitor the conduct of drivers, attendants and students onboard while the bus is in motion.

“It will remotely monitor the outer surroundings of the bus, identify the real-time location of the bus and figure out its operational conditions as well,” he said.

He added that the system will automatically record three traffic offences: overtaking the school bus either side while the “Stop” sign is activated, non-buckling up of seat belts by the driver or riders, and failing to leave a sufficient distance between the bus and other vehicles.

“The system also spots violations made by bus drivers, attendants and operators. Moreover, it contributes to the automation of some offences of Law No (2) regulating the school transport in Dubai,” he said.

Examples of school transport law violations include driving of the school bus by an unlicensed person, operating any vehicle in school transport activities without a permit, and the failure to operate the electronic ‘Stop’ sign when the bus stops for picking up or dropping off students.

Behroozian said the authority began work on the system in June, when it invited companies specialised in smart monitoring solutions to develop the system.

Consequently, five companies are now engaged in the implementation of this pilot project.

In August, in coordination with several school bus operators, these companies installed cameras and communication devices on 10 school buses (5 large buses and 5 minibuses) on a trial basis.

“The trial phase will continue through out the first semester of this academic year, following which RTA will analyse all data retrieved from the ten buses to assess its efficiency and accuracy. We will then develop a timeline in coordination with the concerned parties and government entities to start the implementation of the system on all school buses registered in Dubai,” he said.

Currently, 6,500 buses serve 145,000 private school students in Dubai.