Roundup: A Survivor Recovers, Driver Awkwardly Quits and More

One of the students injured in the Houston bus crash that killed two others remains hospitalized, but in good condition. Lakeisha Williams, 17, is the last student still under hospital care. Her twin brother, Brandon, was released after he was treated for broken bones. The driver of the bus that plunged over the side of Loop 610, Luisa Pacheco, suffered from non-threatening injuries. The dead students were identified as Janiecia Chatman, 14, and Mariya Johnson, 17. The 14-year-old freshman died at a hospital while the older student was pronounced dead at the scene. The bus was en route to school the morning of Sept. 15 when the tragedy occurred.

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Roundup: Lawmakers Aim for Seat Belts, A Spider Causes a Collision

In response to the recent bus crash in Houston that killed two students, Texas lawmakers are again calling to make seal belts mandatory. An earlier state effort to provide students with lap belts and shoulder harnesses stalled due to a lack of funding. As of now, there is no federal rule that requires seat belts on school buses. Texas lawmakers have required school buses purchased after 2010 to include seat belts for each passenger, but this rule only applied if the state paid for the buses. The only school buses currently outfitted with seat belts in the Lone Star State are designed to transport special needs students. About 1.4 million pupils ride school buses in Texas each day, and most don't wear seat belts of any kind. The state initially promised $10 million in grants, with four districts receiving $400,000 to buy buses, but budget cuts ended the program. The Texas Association for Pupil Transportation has considered adopting a position to encourage, but not require, lap belts and shoulder harnesses on school buses. Currently, only six states require seat belts on large school buses.

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NYAPT Pushes Again for Stop-Arm Camera Law Passage

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) is preparing “the cleanest bill possible” for lawmakers to vote on when they return in January after the bill to install stop-arm cameras on school buses was returned to committee at the close of the last legislative session.

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Roundup: Bus Driver Caught on Candid Camera

A school bus driver was fired after being caught on video blowing through a stop sign, the bus carrying young students from an area elementary school. A concerned parent captured the incident with a cell phone, posting the video to social media, claiming the driver was notorious for drifting through the stop on numerous occasions. Once posted, the video was viewed more than 65,000 times in 24 hours. The driver, who worked for First Student, was fired soon after the video went viral. The district originally hired the driver in 2013. She became a driver for First Student when bus services were outsourced to the company a year later.

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The Road Less Traveled

When the 2015 academic year began in Fort Wayne, Indiana, roughly 7,000 students were left at the bus stop without a ride. 

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Zonar Beta Testing Driver Behavior App for 2020 Tablet

Amid news that partner GreenRoad is integrating an in-vehicle camera to capture video of driver behavior behind the wheel, a Zonar Systems representative said the GPS hardware and software company is currently testing the GreenRoad app for the 2020 tablet that is coming to school buses.

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Roundup: Drivers Face New Regulations, A First Day SNAFU and Rap Ban

As students head back to the classroom, school bus drivers throughout Tennessee face new regulations this school year, specifically for how drivers handle phone calls, a response sparked by the fatal bus crash in Knoxville that killed two children and a teacher’s aide. Other regulations include ramping up procedures for railroad crossing, continuous training for bus evacuations, and increasing drivers training time. “Anytime something like that happens we want to make sure we try to learn from it and grow from that tragedy,” said Carter County Schools Transportation Director Wayne Sams, citing the crash as the reason for the several changes in the established regulations.

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