The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hosted a meeting Thursday in Washington, D.C. that discussed the risk factors associated with student transportation services nationwide and that seeks input from industry and vehicle safety stakeholders to identify possible solutions to related injuries and fatalities.
While the feds still say that school buses are the safest mode of transportation to and from school for students, NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind said during opening comments that the agency seeks a "Road to Zero" in terms of annual school bus fatalities both in the bus and at the bus stop. While he leaves the agency on Jan. 20 as the Obama administration transfers to that of President-elect Donald Trump, he provided "two lists of threes" that outline longterm goals for improving school bus safety and targets that can be implemented in the near-future.
The National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the National School Transportation Association were each represented during the "Thinking Outside the Bus" meeting as were school bus manufacturers Blue Bird, IC Bus and Thomas Built Buses and several other suppliers to the school bus industry.
Discussions and presentations on Thursday centered on innovations and lessons learned in school bus safety technologies such as seat belts, motion detectors on school buses to identify pedestrians at school bus stops, stop-arm violations and new crash avoidance technology available, or soon to be available, from school bus OEMs.
NHTSA also shared information on current projects on school buses and pupil transportation, including the latest data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System on school-transportation related crashes as well as research on stop-arm video enforcement programs run in four states that targets illegal passers.