If your child rides the school bus, you should know about new features aimed at keeping them safe.

KHON2 found out, the Department of Education is installing cameras on buses to keep track of students even when they’re out of the classroom.

A statewide roll out is underway.

That’s not the only new feature on school buses.

Dann Carlson says the Department of Education is bringing it’s contracted fleet of school buses into the 21st century. “All of our buses now are equipped with GPS that is combined with some route planning software that again is state-of-the-art. At any one time I can tell you exactly where our buses are.”

In addition to the GPS software, security cameras have also been installed along with sophisticated route planning software that lets officials know the most efficient route a bus can take.

The cameras are already on buses on Oahu and Hawaii Island, and will make their way on to buses on Maui and Kauai later this year. “It’s an important thing that gets us into the 21st-century when it comes to student transportation. It’s not used against the students but it is used as another measure in which we can hopefully create a secure and safe environment for our kids.”

The DOE says there has to be a special request made to release the video, and that it’s already had a number of incidents where the footage has been used.

These new upgrades are coming out of the DOE’s transportation budget, which according to Carlson, has gone from $72 million a few years ago to around $62 million today. “So again just by being innovative and coming up with new ways in which we can do stuff, ways which we can make it attractive, we were really able to foster some competition, which again competition leads to savings.”