NASDPTS Releases New Passing Survey Results

The new illegal passing survey done for the previous year has been realeased. This surgery is put on by  the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services  and its full results can be found here.

It tells us how many states take the survey, how many drivers reported, how many times they were illegally passed, etc. it tells us a lot of things but one thing you don’t see is how many of those motorists that could have killed or seriously injured a child were charged.

 

Ill tell you why. Less then half would be generous. Less then a quarter would be a dream! In reality less then 10% of people who illegally pass a stopped school bus with flashing red lights and a stop arm extended, ever face the consequences.

That 10% isn’t a legal number but it comes from years of experience and reading reports.  So when I say that reporting isn’t enough, I mean it! A bus company or a school can only do so much. We need more legal support and people willing to see that every report is followed up on and the every perpertraitor is charged. If not charged then at least made to watch an10 minute video on the rules of passing a school bus and the results of lputt

 

 

Ohio Safety Plate

Ohio has recently passed bill 207 making a school bus safety license plate available state wide!

This plate features a picture of a school bus with flashing lights and states that we need to stop for them. The plate allows for new level of school bus awareness for the public!

I think this is a super idea and would love to see this become available in every state in the next year or so! People who want this specialty plate can buy it for $20.00 a year.

The bill 207 allocates $10 to the state and $10 to OAPT, “which shall use the money to support transportation programs, provide training to school transportation professionals, and support other initiatives for school transportation safety,” the law states.

This is an amazing way to promote awareness and raise funds for school bus transportation. Here’s to seeing many, many of these on the roads!

Chattanooga: New Charges for Walker!

Update!!!

Walker, who drove and crashed a school bus in Chattanooga Tennessee last November is facing new charges in his trial.

Acording to reports Walker faces six counts of vehicular homicide, charges of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and using a portable electronic device as a bus driver.

He is a deplorable example of what a school bus driver should be like. We put all of our trust I the people who bring our children to school for us everyday and he leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

There is further talk that he may not face any jail if he  receives alternative judgement such as probation with a community service time.

I hope for the charges to all stick and letting this man anywhere near a moving vehicle should never be allowed!

A Florida Man Steals a Bus

Holmes county sheriff department was led on a wildgoose chase a few days ago when a local mans crime spree took a violent turn!

The suspect (whose original reason for fleeing was not stated) first encountered and injured a man in his home with a hammer while trying to steal his car. Upon this initial failure he attempted to break into a second home, and steal a mail delivery vehicle before he entered a school.

While in bethlehem school he was held at gun point by an armed school worker. At this point he was also being chased by a passing cop who witnessed him while he was breaking into the second home. After a brief hold up he escaped onto a school bus and went on a terrifying ride down BOTH sides of the road.


Just out side of town the cops shot the tires of the stolen school bus and was able to apprehend the suspect soon after he crashed into the woods.

This is a crazy story full of misfortune. I can’t believe how unfortunate the school and all of this bad mans victims were.  I hope no one is too hurt and the school is able to recover in time.

Haleigh

Fort Worth Collision

Quick and Dirty:

A 40 year old women was driving and turned down a street going the wrong way.

She immediatly collided head on with the school bus! She was brought to he hospital with severe injuries. Only one child on the bus was brought to the hospital with minor injuries while 11 other ps where. Heckled out at the accidents location.

Not much else has been reported and the ages of the children on board were not disclosed.

When a car and a bus collide the bus pretty much always comes out on top due to its raised carriage design and size. Lucky for all involved!

Pit would be nice to see the accident report and how the front end of the bus ended up. Maybe a future report will mention more details, until then here hoping everyone comes out alright!

Haleigh

Iowa is Going Mobile!

Iowa has decided to move forward in by using mobile devices such as an iPad/tablet in their school buses for gps, student counts, and a few extra daily tasks.

Monitor placement example.

If used properly they will allow for the bus driver to better monitor the students onboard and their route progress/efficiently! Strict rules and restrictions have been placed on the table usage and placement.

They cannot block anything essential on the counsel, they cannot block driver sight or mirrors, and they cannot block any path thatbmaybresult in a student clothiers/ backpack being caught on them.

With the way they are set up the driver will only be able to used school bus related programs on them and the tablets screen will go dark during transit, leaving only the sound activated in the drivers compartment. This is in hopes that a lit screen and on screen motion is not a distraction to the driver.

i adore this idea! It would be very handy to have them installed in more buses! Looking forward to seeing how this all works out!

Webinar Takes You Through Automated Buses

Webinar is talking 21st century sci-fi! I am all about the thrill of updating school buses and their safety features! Not sure talking automated school buses is the best way to go but who doesn’t love rooting for th underdog ideas?

Mentioned is that it takes time for new technology to trickle down the automotive line and reach school buses and other larger vehicles- almost 20 years in some cases.  Cars can take the front line modifications due to their size and weight, then small vans and eventually pick up before we finally see an attempt at a bus. Currently buses are being equipped with some driving assistance systems and gps updates.

Id say we still have a ways to go before we have self parking or driving school buses! I have high hopes for the future of automation! Let’s bring about floating buses and sci-fi infused action!

 

Haleigh

New Nevada Seatbelt Law Passes

Starting July 1st, 2019 all newly purchased school buses must come equipped with lap-shoulder seats belts.  I have never been a huge fan of the seatbelt idea for school buses but with all of the new types of seatbelts available I am eager to further review the research they will be producing!

As always seatbelts will remain a hot topic.  With Nevada becoming the 7th state to have a school bus seatbelt law there are many changes on the horizon.

They are one of the few that have named a specific type of belt to be required and the law only states that any “newly purchased school buses” must be equipped. That said, most school bus companies do not buy brand new school buses and that means that there is a very simpler  work around for this law.

Another problem is that even thought the belts are required, it will be nearly impossible to enforce that students are wearing them let alone wearing them properly. This oversight is not something we can demand the driver to watch for and the budget of almost all districts restricts the ability to add a second adult to a route to oversee the students are following this new demand.

All in all the demand that buses come with seatbelts may not change anything unless they can come up with a way to make sure the student wear them.

Haleigh

 

Industry Vendor Debates Seatbelts

Jordan Puckett weighed in on the seat belt topic on April 11, 2017, in his article titled, “Should our buses have seat belts, both sides of the ongoing debate.”

His article oversimplifies the pros and cons of seatbelt use. He first states, “while this may at first seem like a no brainer ‘yes we should’ answer, many disagree.”

If it were a simple matter, there wouldn’t be a debate and no one would be disagreeing.

He cites the following “pros” to installing seatbelts:

• Educate students: installing seat belts gives our students training in consistent seatbelt use

• Prevent unsafe bus lawsuits: installing seatbelts could eliminate lawsuits filed for “unsafe” buses

• Improve student behavior: installing seatbelts would keep kids in their seats and bad behavior would disappear

• Eliminate student ejection in crashes: installing seat belts will keep students inside the bus during a collision

• Increase parental confidence in the yellow school bus: installing seat belts will give parents more confidence in transportation systems

• Keep students fixed in their locations: installing seat belts – even lap belts – will help keep students from sliding around the bus seat

Puckett makes assumptions about the safety improvements offered by seat belts. Using them to educate students, manage their behavior, and making their parents feel good are all good things if seat belts do not cause harm to students. The same is true about potential lawsuits: if the seat belts themselves cause harm, we are going to be sued anyway.

We have, as an industry, done much to prevent ejection. The way we construct the seating compartment (aka the chassis) has made it far less likely that there will be any openings even in a very serious crash.

His final point, that even a lap-belts-only system could improve the overall passenger experience by keeping students fixed in their seating location instead of sliding across the seats, is erroneous. We know that lap belts cause harm to young students. We know that internal damage to their less-protected abdomens and internal organs increases with the use of lap belts. We have proven in multiple studies that the only product we want to approve as an industry is a three-point harness, because studies have indicated that in some crashes, three-point harnesses could improve student safety. The problem is that until we install them in a large number of vehicles and use our students as crash test dummies, we cannot be certain our tests are accurate. I’m not a fan of using our students as crash test dummies.

Puckett made the opposing case too. He points out the reasons we may have to argue against installing seat belts. I refute each of his points directly following the bullet point:

• Seat belts are expensive. The cost of the bus and all of its safety enhancements are passed on to the consumer. No one within the industry, not private contractors or school districts, assumes the cost of the seat belts; it is, in fact, paid for by American taxpayers. Also, the cost of a student’s life is immeasurable. No one who has experienced a traumatic crash would use this point as an argument against seat belts.

• School buses are already very safe because they travel below or right at the speed limit and the seating compartment is above the impact point of most vehicles. Buses travel at high speeds, and even at low speeds some crashes are serious. Trusting that they all travel below or right at the speed limit is making a fairly ridiculous assumption.

The point about the seating compartment being high off the ground, above the level of impact in most crashes, is very valid, and part of a sound case against installing seat belts in school buses.

• Installed seat belts could cause difficulty extracting students if there were a fire. (Of course, he fails to mention water.) There are very few cases of school bus fire, and they become more rare as the vehicle standards improve nationally, and as bus inspectors get better at correcting flaws in the mechanical operation before it becomes an issue.

• Students may or may not actually use the seat belts. So much for making the point that we will be educating students on consistent, life-time use of seatbelts by installing them, at great expense to taxpayers.

Drivers would necessarily have to be exempted from any regulation requiring them to enforce the use of seat belts, just like school administration would have to treat misuse or non-use as a punishable infraction.

• Puckett wonders what would happen when more students tried to fit in a seat than there were seat belts. This is a more serious issue than just a point in an argument opposing seat belts. Each bus would have to have the number of seat belts as the bus is (nationally) regulated to carry. Some states allow students to stand – again, a more serious issue than this article addresses. If seat belts improve student safety, every student needs to have one.

I find it perplexing that this article was referenced by an industry publication. The online link redirects the reader to a website for school transportation-related products, so it seems to be more of an advertising ploy than a valid article about seat belts.

Seat belts? Well, that topic is definitely not disappearing from industry conversations any time soon.

School Transportation Technology and JAK the App

We have been sharing some information on the development of JAK the App. In her years in the school transportation industry, Kari identified 14 headaches for school transportation personnel. In the below audio clip of the interview with Tim Hennagir, Managing Editor of the Monticello Times, Kari discusses technology in school transportation, her development of JAK the App, and how JAK addresses 13 of the 14 headaches.