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West Virginia Requires Supervision at School Bus Stops


Various states are always trying new experiments in how to improve school bus safety, but a recent initiative in West Virginia has been raising eyebrows. According to their new Policy 4336 (PDF), all children in grades K-3 must be "supervised" at bus stops for both pickup in the morning and drop-off in the afternoon.

Can New Diesel Engines Improve School Bus Health and ROI?


It wasn't long ago that "diesel" was a dirty word when talking about fuels. However, diesel has come a long way since then. Modern diesel engines, backed by technologies to clean the fuel and prevent harmful emissions, are making a major comeback in many areas, including school bus engines. Proponents say there's no reason to embrace more experimental technologies, like propane or CNG, when diesel is already widely available.

School Bus Safety: Are Lights Enough?

Recently, we came across an interesting School Bus Fleet article about a petition proposing a change to school bus lighting systems that, according to the petitioner, would improve school bus safety. It's far from the first time such an idea was proposed. The problem of cars either ignoring or not seeing school bus warning lights consistently creates dangerous situations for student riders.

Avoiding Disaster in the School Bus Danger Zone

 One of the cornerstones of a proper school bus safety training program is an emphasis on the "Danger Zone." That is, the area immediately surrounding the school bus where children could be in danger of being hit by other cars - or the bus itself - and are potentially hidden by the bus's blind spots. Drivers must understand the threat represented by the Danger Zone, and be thoroughly trained on how to minimize the actual danger to their students.

School Bus Loading and Unloading: Improving Safety In The Danger Zone

Few aspects of school bus loading and unloading are more dangerous than the appropriately-named “danger zone.” The danger zone includes areas near the bus where a student cannot be directly seen by the bus driver, and where incidents involving other vehicles are most likely to occur. The danger zone can be considered to be a rectangle stretching 10 feet from the bus in any direction, with the most dangerous areas being the immediate front of the bus as well as anywhere within arm’s reach of the back half of the bus.

School Bus Safety: Making Loading and Unloading Safer

It’s generally agreed that loading and unloading are the most dangerous times for a child riding a school bus. In fact, the loading and unloading area is even occasionally referred to “the danger zone” because of how many problems could potentially occur. The students are beyond the driver’s direct control and exposed to traffic and other hazards.

School Bus Safety News: California May Delay Child Reminder Alarms

 One morning in 2015 a nonverbal, autistic high school student named Paul Lee was left behind on his Whittier, CA, school bus. Eight hours later, in temperatures approaching 100 degrees, he was dead – not discovered until it was time for the bus’s afternoon route. It was a genuine tragedy, one which highlighted how important it was to always guarantee no students were forgotten on school buses.

New York May Levy Steeper Stop-Arm Fines - But Is That The Right Approach?

 When drivers endanger school bus riders thousands of times every day by ignoring stop-arm signals, it’s clearly a problem that needs solving. But how?

One of the more common solutions being adopted is the use of stop-arm cameras, which work in roughly the same fashion as traffic light cameras. The camera attempts to capture the license plate of anyone speeding by a stopped bus, and the resulting stop-arm fines are mailed to the offending driver’s address on record.

Fixing Holes in School Bus Safety

Staying on top of school bus safety is a never-ending challenge for any district transportation coordinator. There are plenty of ways that a school bus and its routes can be made safer, and never quite enough time to address them all. Undoubtedly, any bus safety plan has some "holes" in it, or areas which aren't as secure as one might like.

This will vary substantially from district to district, but there are still some common holes we see in our own consulting work. Let's talk about some of them.

Intelligent School Bus Seating - The Future Of School Bus Safety?

 In a perfect world, cost wouldn't be an issue when it comes to school bus safety. School buses would be outfitted with the latest in safety features to ensure the highest possible rates of safety and accident survivability. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. Most districts strike a balance between having high levels of safety without having excessive costs with a lot of debates over how to achieve that balance.

School bus seating is often at the center of this discussion. How do we make school bus seats safer? Are seat belts actually effective or worth the cost? People have been going back and forth on that for decades. However, new technologies could substantially change the debate.



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