BALTIMORE (WJZ) — School buses across Maryland are equipped with surveillance systems to monitor students and drivers during their commute, and one district is upgrading their security operations.

A majority of the school buses in Baltimore County use cameras.

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An extra layer of security that is in high demand.

Harford County just announced plans to double the number of systems in their fleet.

When bus driver Steve Nelson steps on board, safety is his number one priority.

As soon as the engine fires up, the cameras start rolling, monitoring everything inside the bus from four angles.

“It gives you that sense of security to know that if something happens, you’ve got some eyes there to help you know what happened,” said Nelson.

A vital tool in school bus safety, especially in recent years, as brutal attacks have been captured on buses across the country.

“We can get very objective, factual footage to view, and the school can make a determination from that point on,” said Matt Bedsaul, Harford County supervisor of transportation.

Harford County Public Schools is doubling the amount of buses with video systems. Adding an extra 103 to keep up with a growing security trend in Maryland.

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Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard Counties all have cameras on a majority of their school buses.

The cameras not only keep the students safe, they offer a support system for drivers. If an incident does occur, they have a third party to review the tape.

“If and when it comes about that a driver is accused of something, before it was their word against their accuser,” Nelson said. “This proves, yeah, they did it [or], no they didn’t.”

The surveillance systems serve as an electronic babysitter and remind students to behave accordingly.

“Students, you know, explicitly comment that they’re on camera, you know. Footage is being recorded, so they’re aware of the presence of them and they tend to act differently,” Bedsaul said.

A resource that adds a layer of protection for those on board and those who share the road.

The new cameras will be installed and running on Harford County buses by this fall.

For school buses without cameras in our region, officials hope to have systems in place as soon as possible.

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