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

 

Aftermath of a Crash

 

When a school bus is involved in a crash there are about a thousand things that need to be addressed immediately. We need to know how bad the crash was, who was involved, why the bus crashed, and do children need to be sent to the hospital? These are just the beginning of what needs to be assessed.

Then, there is what the media wants to know: who was involved, why did the bus crash, do children need to be sent to the hospital, and why were they not required to wear seatbelts on the school bus? That last question concerns me. I have been raised in a school bus filled world and as part of a privately owned school bus company. I feel that this question has caused a lot of anger and confusion over the years. I have never understood why it was so hard to understand. Personally, when they tally the votes for putting seatbelts in school buses they can put my vote firmly on the NO side of the board.

No, I’m not against safety. No, I’m not against improving our school buses. However, I don’t believe that putting seatbelts in school buses is necessarily the right or best way to increase safety for children on board.  What I do believe is that in the last 23 years of my life I have been surrounded by people and an industry who bleed yellow. These people strive and demand to make school buses the safest they can be and they agree that the research and the testing does not tell us that seatbelts will always save the lives lost in past crashes.

I bring this up because of the recent school bus accident in Chattanooga that killed 7 children. Unfortunately, that accident was the fault of the driver’s poor reasoning and lack of training. As far as accidents go, this one was completely avoidable. The media asked their same questions and the answer they were given is that a local government has passed the first stage of having seatbelts required on school buses as of 2019. I don’t agree but if this makes the community feel better about this accident then they will do what they need to do.

I would have preferred an overhaul on their training program, an overhaul on their discipline program, an overhaul on the staff. They are the ones who failed those children by not following up with the driver and they are the ones responsible for this loss of life. I think the change needs to start with people; in this case the school bus did nothing wrong.

School bus companies needs to invest in exceptional driver training and follow up. This will make a noticeable difference in student safety. 

Chattanooga crash picture from www.abcnews.go.com

Public Training

A school bus is a special vehicle. Kari, the founder of JAK the App, considers the school bus a miracle of modern engineering. As part of my responsibilties with JAK the App, I research accidents and come across only the worst information in the news. I see behavior in my new town from bus drivers and regular drivers on the road that frightens me.

Recently, I was riding in the passenger seat on the way to the grocery store. I saw a school bus stopped on the median of the main road in my town. My view of the bus was only for a moment since I was three lanes away and on the opposite side of traffic. But, I could tell that the bus wasn’t empty and even with its hazards on and its stop arm out, other drivers were flying past it in the lane immediately beside the bus. I do not know what the bus was doing there. I didn’t see any other vehicles, I didn’t see any cops or smoke, just those flashing lights and the stop arm. I became infuriated at how drivers were passing by the bus without slowing down. When I pointed it out to my driver, he simply acknowledged it and kept going.

It is times like these that I remember that normal people don’t notice the big yellow bus like my family does. This terrifies me! School buses are an almost sacred entity to me, they carry the lives of children in their bright yellow carriages. To think that people would just zoom past without a thought tells me two things. One, even though for over 15 years the school bus has been proven to be the safest mode of transportation to school, we need to continue to improve safety and visibility of the bus. Two, no matter how well we train our drivers, our students, or our staff; the risk to children will never decrease until the public is properly trained as well.

Something needs to be done. The news only broadcasts what the industry should do and not what the public needs to be aware of. People need to be on the lookout for that brilliant yellow bus and take heed. When a driver decides to zoom around the bus after it caused them to stop for the third time in a row, they need to know exactly who they are about to hurt and what the consequences will be for everyone involved.