Buckeye Central Schools in New Washington, Ohio, recently became the first school district in the nation to pilot a product that has until now been mostly used on city transit buses.
C.E. White, a manufacturer of school bus bench seats that can also be equipped with seat belts, began marketing Public Transportation Safety International's MDZ Shield this past summer. The MDZ Shield is made from a high-performance BASF polyurethane guard that is installed at the front and dual-wheel wells that can deflect a child out of the path of the school bus and minimize the extent of serious or fatal injury in the “danger zone” area outside of the bus, or the approximately 10- to 12-foot area around the vehicle.
The annual National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey published by the Kansas State Department of Education notes that an on average 15 children are killed in the danger zone each year, and the number of fatal injuries occurring outside the bus is four times greater than the number occurring inside the bus. Besides being struck and killed by motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses, the greatest number of child fatalities occur by the right rear tire of the student’s own bus.
The report also shows that children would first incur injuries by coming in contact with the tire itself before being propelled underneath the bus wheels, which C.E. White said intensified the need for a standard safety feature to cover the bus wheel.
According to C.E. White, the firm, durable finish of the MDZ Shield is resistant to scratches, cracking, peeling, UV rays, and dust, and can withstand any road condition or terrain, in any season. The MDZ Shield was also designed to withstand curb impact, and is built to last for the full life cycle of the bus.