A new video enforcement program in place in Austin, Texas, has entered the ticket phase for motorists who illegally pass school buses.
- Published in News
A new video enforcement program in place in Austin, Texas, has entered the ticket phase for motorists who illegally pass school buses.
Washington State House of Representative passed legislation to proceed with a study on the cost and feasibility of equipping school buses with seat belts and harnesses.
Forty school buses in Fulton County, Georgia, began capturing video this week of motorists illegally passing at student stops. But stop-arm violators are granted a one-month reprieve before citations will be mailed.
The illegal passing of stopped school buses continues to be a common problem. In order to address it, McKinney Independent School District in Texas is piloting the use of extended, six-foot long stop arms.
At a hefty price tag for local districts, a bill in the Maryland General Assembly would require all school buses registered in the state be equipped with either two-point lap or three-point, lap-shoulder seat belts by July 1, 2022.
Mom always warned us about not taking candy from strangers. But, unfortunately, sometimes accepting someone’s nice gesture just isn’t worth it, either.
A keen eye and quick thinking helped a South Carolina school bus driver save the life of one of the youngsters aboard her bus. Driver Sacajawea Blassingame pulled to her usual stop to allow 8-year-old Brayden Burns to disembark the bus. While Burns collected himself to exit, Blassingame saw a mini-van speeding down the road. Blassingame told the child to hold off leaving the bus and saved his life within seconds of the minivan potentially hitting him. "I was getting off the bus, I was about to take a step in front and the car flew past at 72 miles an hour," said Burns. The vehicle roared by the bus and burned rubber through a series of stop signs. Blassingame’s heroic efforts are being hailed statewide, but the loudest applause is coming from the mother of the 8-year-old. “I'm just standing there watching. I hear a motor, look down toward the bridge, 'Are you going to stop?' is what's running through my head," said the mother.
A collision between a southern New Jersey school bus and a SUV has resulted in one death and four students injured, according to NJ.com. The driver the Toyota RAV4 was pronounced dead at the scene. The four children, who ranged from 11 to 17, were sent to an area hospital for treatment.
The past week has been an extremely difficult one for the school bus community, as two bus drivers died following crashes and a school principal was killed after being struck by a school bus.
The owner of two pit bulls has been charged after two sisters were attacked at their Viriginia bus stop. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11-year-old Mariana Hernandez and 17-year-old Victoria Hernandez were attacked by the dogs while waiting for the school bus. Mariana was rushed to an area hospital and required surgery for injuries sustained during the attack.
A bill that would prohibit school bus drivers from using mobile devices while driving passed the transportation committee of the Tennessee House on Tuesday, reported WBIR. The bill comes as a response to the tragic accident in Knoxville, Tennessee that killed two students and an instructional aide in 2014. An investigation revealed that the driver of one of the two buses involved in the collison was texting while driving.
The Indiana Department of Education is urging school districts statewide to review safety procedures following the death of an elementary school principle in a bus pick-up zone.
Under the statewide proposal called Gabby’s Law, fines across Florida could go up to $500 for the first offense and the driver could end up in jail. The consequences for a second offense go up to $1,000 in fines and six months jail time, WINK-NEWS reported. A newly released findings show that tens of thousands of drivers fail at stopping for school buses.
A school bus driver in Olympia, Washington was honored Monday night for his actions in avoiding an accident, reported King 5. One morning last month, as James Bratager was driving 49 middle schoolers, an oncoming car veered into his lane. Bratager swerved and avoided a head-on crash, while also avoiding going into a ditch that runs parallel to the road.
Three juveniles are behind bars after stealing a school bus and taking the vehicle on a three-hour tour around the Florida panhandle, NorthEscambia.com reports. The 35-mile escapade around Pensecola started after the trio found the school bus unlocked and the keys in the ignition.
Thirteen people have been hospitalized after an early morning collision between a school bus and a Philadelphia city bus, transported to the hospital after a school bus collided with a Philadelphia public bus, WPVI-TV reports. According to authorities, no children were aboard the school bus and all the injuries appear to be minor.
The initial scene in Boston was chaotic after a white sedan clipped a school bus full of children, parents scrambling to determine the level of damage done to the youngsters. Roughly 30 elementary students were on the bus when the accident occurred. “I was just playing with my toys in my backpack. Then when the bus crashed. I hit the seat,” said one student aboard the bus.
A bill passed by the West Virginia Senate seeks to change the law regarding the convictions process for those who illegally pass stopped school buses.
A 7-year-old boy was hit by a school bus Tuesday afternoon as he rode his bicycle, reported News4Jax. According to reports, the school bus had just started back on its route after dropping off students. The boy then attempted to cross the street and entered the bus' path. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.
A school bus driver in Nassau County, Florida, has been put on probation for the next year after being caught texting behind the wheel with children aboard, reported WJAX. "This egregious safety violation could result in your termination," warned David Buchanan, director of transportation, in a letter to the driver. "I know that this suspension and return to probationary status will serve as a wake-up call as to the seriousness of these infractions."
Looking for a way to replenish coffers for student transportation safety programs? Turn to the tale of the tape, the video tape, that is.
Schools across the greater Atlanta area closed early Friday in preparation for a major snow storm that was expected to bring snow and ice this weekend.
On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a school bus safety bill that requires all new buses to be fitted with motions sensors to prevent tragedies such as the 2003 incident where a toddler was killed after being hit by a bus.
Compared to the consumer car segment, school bus connectivity is cruising in a slower lane, due to cost sensitivity and the need to justify public funding. Connected technologies are showing up in early adopter districts, school bus pilot programs and exploratory partnerships. But as the Internet of Things, or IoT, takes shapes in cities and on roads, the next five years could put school buses on a fast track into the future.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it yield to a school bus. A minor collision between a Michigan school bus and a horse and buggy resulted in no injuries. Four students were aboard the bus that crashed into the horse-drawn buggy. The accident occurred after the bus rolled to a stop and then resumed moving again, pulling into the intersection at the same time as the buggy, which did not have a stop sign. The horse smacked into the front fender of the bus. The animal emerged unharmed. Both the bus and buggy sustained minor damage.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has scheduled a meeting for Jan. 27 to draw lessons from representatives of the six states that currently have laws in place requiring seat belts on school buses.
The National Transportation Safety Board is again focusing its attention on increased seat belt usage in school buses, one of the 10 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2016.
Checking for students after a bus ride is an ongoing issue that garnered national attention in September after the tragic death of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, a 19-year-old autistic student in Whittier, California. Lee died after being left behind on a school bus at the end of its route. He remained inside that bus for several hours during a heat wave until his body was discovered. As a result of this tragedy, many transportation operations, including the Pupil Transportation Cooperative, which operated the bus Lee rode, have re-evaluated and reformed their policies and procedures for driver post-trip inspections for students.
A West Virginia community has rallied in support of a school bus driver battling against cancer. The driver was diagnosed in November, but learned the disease has spread to his stomach and lymph nodes. Those who know him describe him as a kind and considerate man who goes out of his way to help others. But now, the man is the one seeking support, as the longtime driver has started chemotherapy treatments. The only problem is that his paid sick time has run out. However, not all is lost. Co-workers and strangers have stepped in to assist by donating their own sick and vacation time, as well as money, to help in this battle. "It's not only this county," said one supporter. “We're getting donations from other counties as well, from other drivers. The principal at (Braxton County) middle school has donated time to him. So, it's not just drivers. It's county wide—statewide, I ought to say. It means a lot. It just shows you the kind of people we've got in Braxton County.”
In an effort to enhance student safety in Indiana, state Sen. Eric Bassler filed legislation that should further protect children traveling to and from school.
Motorists in Austin, Texas, be warned: Illegally pass a stopped school bus and a $300 ticket could soon be in the mail.
In response to the announcement last year by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind that champions thee-point seat belts in all school buses, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) once again partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to address these statements and express joint concern.
A new North Carolina State Board of Education policy has school bus drivers giving their students a thumb's up, at least when it’s safe to cross the street to or from their bus stops.
It is a well-known fact that school buses are considered “soft” targets vulnerable to armed adults and students bent on destruction. Mass murders have occurred inside school buildings, and school buses offer less protection for its occupants in terms of fewer options for escape. The run, hide, fight scenario is almost non-existent on a school bus if an active shooter gains access. Occupants are forced to go immediately to option three. Only the bus driver stands between the perpetrator and the innocent students, as was the case in January 2013 with Chuck Poland, just six weeks after Sandy Hook.
The question of seat belts on school buses is about as political a topic transportation professionals can engage in. Yet, many of the positions against seat belts on large school buses, namely the three-point variety, are based upon gut feelings and passions that are not necessarily rooted in facts.
The end of the year is often met with introspection on the past 12 months in an effort to determine how to approach the coming year. As 2015 becomes 2016, School Transportation News would like to reflect on the stories that received the highest viewership. The trends that appealed most to readers in 2015 centered on technology, bus accidents and fatalities, as more than half of the top 10 stories STN published in the last year focused on these topics in different ways. So, please, join us on a review of 2015.
A Virginia bus driver who claimed her young daughter suffered terminal cancer to gain sympathy and more than $3,000 in cash and gifts from co-workers was sentenced to serve three months behind bars. The 26-year-old mother testified that she couldn’t justify the lie, and continuing to tell people that her daughter had leukemia and would soon die, “snowballed” out of control. To make amends, the woman has been volunteering for several months at a pediatric and palliative care and hospice program that provides specialized care and emotional support to families of children with life-threatening or fatal conditions. A Richmond prosecutor asserted in court that the lie inflicted great harm and was “mean and hurtful,” preying on the kindness of those trying to help. “She stole their friendships; she stole their hearts,” said the prosecutor.
Four students were reportedly killed nationwide at the school bus stops during the 2014-2015 school year, the lowest figure in the 45 years of such data being reported.
School bus drivers across the Empire State have observed a drastic increase in the number of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses.
Showing that no one is above joining the Star Wars bandwagon, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with state and local law enforcement for some Yuletide reminders that driving under the influence will land people in the paddy wagon.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the adoption of electronic logging devices (ELD) that will improve roadway safety through strengthened compliance with Hours of Service regulations that target fatigue behind the wheel.
Congress agreed on the $305 billion FAST Act that reauthorizes federal highway transportation programs for the next five years, the National School Transportation Association calling it a “huge victory” for private school bus contractors.
A Nevada Highway Patrol program that ensures the buses students ride to and from school are safe was found to have inadequate resources to inspect all vehicles, its semi-annual inspection reportedly overlooking more than 100 transportation methods that don’t fit the traditional definition of a bus.
Registration for the 19th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo, to be held March 12, 2016, in conjunction with the TSD Conference & Trade Show, is officially open, and contestant packets are ready for registered teams.
The contestant packets are available for download on the Roadeo page of www.tsdconference.com to prepare teams for this friendly competition. Registered teams must download the four PDF documents BEFORE the Roadeo. The documents are “2016 Cover Sheet for Contestant Packet,” “Team Study Guides,” “2016 National Roadeo Student Profiles” and “2016 National Roadeo Test.”
The Roadeo consists of driver-attendant teams, and there is no prerequisite* to enter. Register your team today. Those who wish to volunteer as a judge for the Roadeo can also register.
*For state champion teams and challengers, please check with your state association for more information on availability.
For more information on the Roadeo and the TSD Conference & Trade Show, visit www.tsdconference.com.
19th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo
March 12, 2016
TSD Conference & Trade Show
March 11-16, 2016
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation released data on Sunday that illustrates the growing problem of motorists who illegally pass school buses statewide.
A Baltimore school district is honoring a school bus attendant with the Recognition of Excellence award for helping a student who was suffering pain and walking problems from a prosthetic leg that kept falling off. The attendant contacted the transportation supervisor and asked if she could reach out to Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia about getting a new leg for the student. The supervisor agreed and the student got a new, all-expense-paid prosthetic piece, with a Hello Kitty theme, that she picked out herself from the specialized children's hospital. The 17-year-old student is overjoyed, commenting that it is much easier for her to ride the bus, walk and even dance in her church.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on a new, voluntary program that would allow participating certified medical examiners to communicate with primary healthcare professionals who prescribe medication to their commercial driver patients.
Nationwide, 10,000 people are killed by people operating vehicles while intoxicated. Another 290,000 people are injured in impaired-driving crashes. On Dec. 3, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is holding a National Day of Remembrance to honor the injured and the dead left in the wake of these preventable incidents.
Frederick Woods, one of the three men who committed the infamous school bus kidnapping incident nearly 40 years ago in Chowchilla, California, has been denied parole for the 16th time.
A Florida bus driver is being touted as a hero by parents and school officials after she safely emptied her bus of 35 students moments before the vehicle burst into flames. “It’s just my job. I do it every day. Everybody that was on the bus was a hero, not just me,” the driver said. The 18-year veteran was en route to the area elementary school when students began to complain of smoke. The driver immediately ordered everyone to evacuate. Just two miles from school, the students exited the bus in single file and fled to a safe distance, as they had practiced a few months prior to this incident. Five minutes after clearing the bus of everyone, the fire erupted. When fire crews arrived, the entire engine compartment at the back of the bus was ablaze and filled with smoke. “This bus driver was more than a bus driver, she’s really a guardian of our children. I can’t put enough emphasis on what an amazing job she did,” said fire rescue district chief.
It’s dizzying the number of technological innovations on display at the 2015 NAPT Summit, especially from one manufacturer that got its 100th anniversary celebration off to an early yet raucous start.
An education panel in the New Jersey state assembly advanced Bill A-1455 on Monday, which intends to increase school bus safety by detecting the presence of students in the bus’ danger zone.
In his 1997 book, “An Integrative Theory of Leadership,” social psychologist Dr. Martin Chemers writes that leaders are ultimately woven from the fibers of trust that a group has in him or her to accomplish the task at hand. He refers to such confidence and optimism as “mettle.”
Local support for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommendation that all school buses be equipped with seat belts has been gaining traction countrywide. The NHTSA safety belt push is a reversal from past recommendations. “We want everyone to be riding safely and securely at all times, whether they are in a car or on the school bus,” said one South Carolina program coordinator at Safe Kids Upstate. However, the seat belt requirement may be at odds with how districts want to go forward with the proposal. The South Carolina Dept. of Education, for instance, said they have no plans as of yet to install seat belts on buses. “We always follow state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to school bus safety. Our number one priority is to keep our children safe and we'll work with state lawmakers and buses that meet all the safety standards,” the district said in a statement. Administrators cite a number of reasons to go forward with the proposal, claiming that to retrofit existing school buses with belts would be costly, with a price tag of up to $20,000 per bus. Currently, school districts are not federally required to have safety belts on school buses that weight more than 10,000 pounds GVWR, but that could soon change.
CHARLESTON, S.C. - SafeStop, the original mobile app that connects parents and school officials to the vehicles transporting their students, has announced an additional 250 school vehicles in five states are launching service in November before the winter weather arrives. This launch will provide more than 30,000 parents the opportunity to utilize the app in both large public school systems and small private schools.
RICHMOND, Va. – Thomas Built Buses has teamed up with Mobileye Aftermarket, a division of Mobileye N.V., the global leader in the development of vision and data analysis for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and autonomous driving, and Pana-Pacific, to offer the Mobileye Aftermarket collision avoidance system as a factory-installed option for the popular Saf- T-Liner® C2 as part of its BusWiseTM suite of technologies.
Concerns about health, student safety and the environment dominated the Monday sessions of the 2015 NASDPTS Conference with numerous recommendations from a variety of agencies to improve current standards and ensure the future remains bright.
Failing to grasp the definition of incognito, a Kentucky man was arrested after stealing a school bus and leading area police on a high-speed pursuit. Police were alerted to a school bus moving oddly and caught up to the vehicle on the roadway. One officer claimed that the bus crossed lanes of traffic and nearly slammed into his patrol car. No matter how many attempts to get the school bus to stop, it would not be pulled over. Authorities were eventually able to run the phony bus driver, David Farley, 19, off the road. Farley decided to add more charges to his already growing rap sheet by fleeing on foot. Once police captured him, his breath reeked of alcohol, leading police to determine he was drunk. Among the many charges filed against Farley was Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition and first-degree Fleeing or Evading Police.
Bullying has been making headlines around the country, and it affects kids in and out of the classroom. When bullying occurs on the school bus, not only does it harm children, it can distract drivers. Gina Crump, a former school counselor and character education professional from Missouri, decided to take matters into her own hands to address these issues. As the creator of the ZoeBus, Crump educates students and bus drivers on things like respect and behavior management in order to reduce these behaviors.
For months, the school bus industry has been abuzz about what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would do about three-point seat belts in school buses, and the verdict may soon be in as NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind takes the stage on Sunday at the 2015 NAPT Summit as a keynote speaker. Rosekind is expected to reveal the next course of action in this debate.
Student often claim that getting up early and waiting for the bus stinks. For kids who use one particular Oklahoma bus stop, this complaint can be taken literally after four deer carcasses were found dangling over a fence near a Tulsa County school bus drop off. As the carcasses have been showing up randomly over the last month, residents close to the macabre scene have described the sight is offensive and gross. The local game warden speculated the quartet of dead deer was likely poached, the hunter hanging the carcasses in the manner that they were found to display as "trophies." It is illegal to dispose of dead things this way, the game warden reported, and each carcass carries a $350 fine.
Safety is one of the most important issues in the school bus industry. For School Bus Safety Week last week, we interviewed Trish Reed, vice president and general manager of IC Bus, to discuss some of the safety features available in the company’s school bus offerings.
The investigation continues into the death of 5-year-old Bissiah Hedges, who was killed early Monday morning when his Macon County, Alabama school bus driver struck him as she pulled away from the stop.
Following a string of tire-related accidents that killed 12 and injured 42 in Florida, Louisiana, Arizona and California, the National Transportation Safety Board initiated a special investigation into the factors that contribute to tire failure that cause more than 500 deaths in the U.S. each year.
For many school administrators, the decision to delay or close schools due to wet, snowy or frigid weather is one of the most important and difficult they have to make. In the majority of situations, this judgment is based on transportation issues.
The Nevada Highway Patrol and the Clark County School District partnered last week to crack down on dangerous drivers, placing officers on area school buses to catch these hazardous motorists in the act of breaking the law.
Christopher Hart has been an NAPT Summit fixture for the past several years. The heir to Deborah Hersman as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board in 2012, Hart first spoke to NAPT attendees and those attending the concurrent NASDPTS Annual Meeting while still serving as vice-chairman, namely about the need for lap-shoulder seat belts on school buses, as well as collision warning systems, lane departure systems and active braking and adaptive.
It should come as no surprise that school bus safety is a concern for all parents. To learn first hand the happenings on the local school buses, members of a West Virginia school board took rides to see what exactly is going on in and around these transport machines. Speaking to both parents and students, the board members gained insight to the recklessness of drivers when confronted with buses. Mostly, it comes down to speed and people just need to slow down, especially when children are present. They are the future, a grandparent pointed out. “There's been times where people just swerve off the road. People just need to slow down and respect the fact that all these little kids are getting off the bus instead of worrying about where they're going and passing the school bus with the stop signs out,” said one parent. The school board chairman believes that safety is first and foremost. “It's just to be sure that the children arrive safely and go home safely,” said the chairman.
As National School Bus Safety Week (SBSW) wrapped up Friday, here's an overview of how school districts, industry associations and companies promoted and supported student safety on the yellow bus.
WALL, N.J., Oct. 19, 2015 — Student Transportation Inc. (STI) (TSX:STB) (NASDAQ:STB), North America's most trusted and largest independent provider of student transportation services, joins school districts across the United States and Canada in celebrating National School Bus Safety Week which begins today, Oct. 19. The National Association of Pupil Transportation's theme for this year's School Bus Safety Week is "Be Smart - Be Seen, I wait in a safe place!" STI is echoing this theme to its passengers and encouraging the children to always cross the street in front of the bus and to stay out of the Danger Zones.
"When you hear this year's Safety Week theme, it prompts the question of whose job it is to teach children about bus safety. And the short answer is, it's all of our jobs - the parents, the school, the bus drivers," states Don Weir, STI vice president of passenger safety and compliance. "That's why it is so critical that we collectively teach our kids safe habits for riding the bus, including knowing the Danger Zones, never running after a bus, and never crouching down to retrieve a dropped item near the bus. Be smart and be seen!"
STI's locations throughout North America will be holding safety meetings, demonstrations, and online training courses through its Learning Management System this week. Additionally, the company will be hosting its third annual STI Safety Wall of Fame awards banquet this week in Wall, New Jersey. The company will honor 13 of its employees who have displayed an outstanding commitment to safety throughout their career in student transportation. Senior executives and staff will join the recipients for the special celebration.
Employees were nominated by Managers at the company's locations. Nominees were held to the highest criteria of safety and performance, including accident-free service within their role, knowledge of company safety policies and procedures, reliability, exceptional performance of their duties, good character and community involvement. This year's inductees into the Safety Wall of Fame are:
|Arthur Cooper: Trenton, NJ||Judith Fogel: Santa Maria, CA|
|Bilal Nosilla: Omaha, NE||Laurette Cillo: Merrimack, NH|
|Bobbi Gressley: Altoona, PA||Leon Gillam: Chariho, RI|
|Corina Perez: San Jose, CA||Marlene Ober: Mount Joy, PA|
|DeAndre Threatt: Milwaukee, WI||Patricia Young: Punxsutawney, PA|
|Dori Hatheway: London, Ontario||Victor Slape: Omaha, NE|
|Gwen Childs: Palmdale, CA|
Founded in 1997, Student Transportation Inc. (STI) is North America's most trusted provider of student transportation solutions, operating nearly 13,000 vehicles. STI's family of local companies delivers safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation, management, logistics and technology solutions to a wide range of customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Services are delivered by drivers, dispatchers, maintenance technicians, terminal managers, information technology professionals and others, who are caring members of their local communities. For more information, please visit www.RideSTBus.com.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation is working with a group of school districts each month to count the number of times motorists illegally pass school buses.
A pilot program intended to reduce the illegal passing of stopped school buses through the use of enhanced lights called the Driver Alert System (DAS) started Monday in Michigan at 10 school districts throughout the state.
In what could be only labeled as going beyond the call of duty, two Fairport Central School District bus drivers were in the right place at the right time to save a homeowner and his dog from a rapidly advancing fire.
The mid-point of National School Bus Safety Week is also the day chosen to honor Kansas school bus drivers.
Since a number of drivers cannot take the hint that when a bus comes to a complete stop with its lights flashing and its stop arm extended that means stop forward progress and do no pass, a Michigan district has teamed up with the state police for a pilot program that essentially spells it out for drivers what they are required to do. The new technology, in big, electronic letters on the back of the bus, reminds drivers that stopping isn’t an option. In other words, in the latest attempt to make it clear, this technology installs brighter and clearer signs, lighting up unmistakably at the eye level of drivers behind it. “It will actually have a written message on the back. It will say caution, stopping, and when the vehicle is stopped, it will say stop in text versus the red and yellow lights,” said a representative of the technology. Two school buses in the Lansing district will be installed with these signs. In a matter of weeks, state police will know if they work. If the program proves successful, proposals for legislation are being written to require all new school buses to purchase the signs.
Michigan state Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. introduced a bill last month that seeks to amend the Michigan Vehicle code to increase penalties for motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.
An off-duty NYPD officer saved the lives a bus driver and aide, dragging them from the wreckage of a burning school bus. The bus erupted in flames after a collision with a tractor-trailer along the Long Island Expressway. The officer witnessed the accident and pulled his vehicle to the shoulder of the highway when he saw the bus engulfed in flames and smoke. He pried open the door to the bus to find the driver pinned and the aide was nowhere to be found, lost in the smoke. The officer called to the aide, telling her walk toward the sound of his voice, and met the aide halfway down the aisle. After clearing the aide to safety, the officer wrenched the driver free through the driver’s side door, rescuing him from the fiery vehicle.
In what officials are calling the worst flooding in a thousand years, large sections of South Carolina are still under water after Hurricane Joaquin swept through the state with devastating rainstorms that have killed at least 16 people and stranded hundreds of others.
The counties of Cabell, Greenbrier and Kanawha in West Virginia recently completed a pilot program involving extended school bus stop arms in order to determine whether these showed a decrease in the illegal passing of stopped school buses.
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.
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.
A Tampa Bay, Florida, school bus driver’s employment was terminated after the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office charged him with careless driving for speeding, losing control of the bus and crashing into a murky, alligator-filled pond. Neither the students nor the driver were seriously injured.
As the leaves begin to change and fall is in the air, the world begins to slow down and settle in for shorter days and cooler nights. It’s around this same time the excitement of a new school year begins to wear off as students relax into the familiar routine of school. Gone are those first few weeks of arriving early the bus stop eager to get to school.
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.
The new school year is now in session in most, if not all, schools across the country. Many groups are issuing safety reminders for both students and motorists during this season. The New York School Bus Contractor’s Association is not only reminding drivers to use caution around school buses but also calling for harsher penalties for those who illegally pass stopped school buses.
Four-year-old Vivian got her wish, to ride a school bus thanks to A Special Wish, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening diseases. Vivian has an unrepaired, complex form of heart disease that is currently being treated and she might not make it to kindergarten. Her family reported that whenever Vivian saw a school bus, she wanted to be aboard; however, her doctors thought it is too risky due to her health. Perseverance prevailed and Vivian got to ride on a school bus with her family, going to Chuck E. Cheese afterwards, where they had the entire place to themselves.
A South Carolina bus driver has been behind the wheel since 1980. In the 35 years transporting high school students to and from school, Earlene Scott, 56, has had an impeccable record, not one infraction to tarnish it, with every student that hops aboard his bus getting home safe. “Parents want their kids safe, just like I would with mine. They want their kids respected, and they want the driver to be trusted with their kids,” said Scott.
The TSD Conference & Trade Show added a new member to its National Board of Advisors this week when Miriam Manary accepted an invitation presented by Tenured Faculty member Sue Englert Shutrump. Manary is the senior engineering research associate at University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and has been a regular speaker at the TSD Conference over the 25 years of its existence.
Deb Hubsmith, founder of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership has died after a nearly two-year fight with acute myeloid leukemia, the organization confirmed. She was 46.
Despite a statement on the Gardian Angel LED website that its lighting system for the school bus loading zone had been "approved" for use in Arkansas, state director Mike Simmons told STN that Gardian Angel is only an "allowable option."
ATG Risk Solutions is providing customers of fleet GPS and telematics company Zonar Systems with the ability to tap into risk management and underwriting programs, as well as potential incentives based on the increased safety of their vehicles and drivers.
The push to increase liability insurance minimums on private commercial motor vehicles has regained momentum from a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, garnering support from a number of colleagues and restarting the debate over financial responsibility of transportation companies.
The annual summer run on the repair and replacement of school bus seat covers is in full swing and is stretching vendors to their limit to keep up with the orders. Some vendors say the trend actually increases their costs and may increase the risk of fire hazard on the bus during the year because of exposed foam.
Students aboard a Maize South High School bus in Wichita, Kansas, were relieved to know that the collective, sinking feeling they all experienced was actually the bus they were on dipping into a sinkhole. The bus was parked near the school when its rear left tire began to sink through the pavement. While students were on the bus, no injuries were reported. Parents were alerted of the developing situation, which turned out to be a sinkhole that measured 7 feet by 6 feet, and administrators reported that routes would be delayed while a solution is formed.
School bus contractor First Student, along with the National Safety Council, will kick off its seven-city Safety Dog Bus Tour to promote bus safety for elementary school students.
Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, in an effort to break the pattern of cars rushing by stopped school buses, are placing deputies aboard certain buses along routes where they know drivers aren’t paying attention. Two years ago, 31 citations were issued to drivers passing school buses while children were getting on or off the bus. A year later, that number increased to 48 tickets. “There are certain roads, certain areas where motorists will turn a blind eye so to speak, and disregard the stop sign that’s attached to the school bus, and what we’re trying to do is combat that,” said Lt. Shane McDaniel.
With one in 68 children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the condition is evidently on the rise across the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, this current autism diagnosis rate represents a 30-percent increase since 2008. In order to raise ASD awareness and assistance, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) and the Autism Society have partnered to provide school bus contractors the necessary training and information about the disorder.
The School Bus Manufacturers Technical Council has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine if the structural integrity of the school bus seating and restraint system needs to be changed, stating that it is in the best position to undertake an analysis of FMVSS No. 222. The request came in response to a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation regarding three-point belts for school buses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration invited association officials and student transportation professionals to an informal meeting July 23 titled “School Bus Occupant Protection: Taking Safety to a New Level.” Yet other safety concerns shared the stage with the much-debated issue of whether seat belts should be required on all school buses, not just the small Type A models.
Advancements in technology are often met with reluctance and rejection when utilized in the public sector.
RENO, Nev. — Current society cannot simply be viewed through a black and white lens since reality resides inside an obscured gray zone. Tackling problems in this vague in between demands that modern-day transportation departments think outside the box to resolve issues encountered during operations.
RENO, Nev. — The priority of any first responder and community partner during a crisis is to minimize the loss of life and mitigate the pain of those affected.
Is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reopening the school bus lap/shoulder seat belt debate? Apparently so, judging from an all-day meeting and working group hosted by the agency on Thursday in Washington, D.C. A school bus official we spoke with immediately after the event said that NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind provided these parting words (we paraphrase): Sometime this fall the agency would have a plan in place regarding occupant restraint systems on school buses.
The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) once again pitted bus drivers from the U.S. and Canada in head-to-head safety competition to crown a champion. The contest started July 18, and continued into the following day.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to discuss the challenges and barriers preventing school districts from installing three-point seat belts on school buses later this month in Washington, D.C.
Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International, has traveled worldwide training people to rapidly and efficiently respond to life threatening situations.
The North Carolina State Board of Education announced it has implemented changes to school bus safety policies to make crossing conditions safer for students who ride the school bus.
Last week, Louisiana governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 695, which gives schools more flexibility when planning and implementing school bus routes while also amending HB 600/654 from the 2014 legislative session.
A young girl miraculously survived being run over by her own bus. After getting off the bus, Paige Breckle bent over to retrieve an item and was knocked to the ground as the bus pulled away. Yet, by sheer luck, the impact landed Paige right between the wheels and the bus simply passed over her. She was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.
Proponents of safe student transportation have won another victory in cracking down on reckless drivers after Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed legislation to permit cameras on Mobile County school buses.
The 16th National Congress of School Transportation moved to raise the profile of pupil transportation priorities among federal decision makers, elevate diverse voices in the lead-up to the 2020 event and spelled out a more robust approach for interim updates to the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures Manual.
Two school bus drivers for the Camas School District were honored for their acts of heroism in keeping students safe during two reckless driving incidents that could have turned deadly. In both instances, the pair prevented severe bodily harm to students through their quick judgment, astounding skill, and keen sense of impending danger. Both claimed they were just doing their jobs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has exempted school buses from a recent mandate that all heavy trucks and large buses, including motor coaches, be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) systems.
In order to safeguard New York children on school buses, state lawmakers have passed a series of bills that protect both students and bus drivers from unwanted passengers and hazardous motorists.
Three school bus drivers have the opportunity to participate in this summer’s International School Bus Driver Safety Competition in Minneapolis after winning their respective divisions at the 44th Annual New York State School Bus Safety Competition last month.
Tragedy struck a small township outside of New York after a crash with a truck killed a school bus driver. The truck drifted into oncoming traffic, causing a head-on collision that left the driver dead. No students were harmed. The truck driver is expected to survive and will face charges.
After a yearlong investigation, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) announced Friday that it is still unclear why a FedEx truck slammed into a motorcoach bus carrying high school students in Northern California last year. The collision killed 10 people, including five students.
Shocking video captured an elementary school girl in Louisville, Kentucky, being dragged by her school bus. Images showed the girl getting dropped off and having her backpack getting stuck in the door. Police reported the girl, between the ages of five or six years old, was dragged for 100 feet, but estimates put the distance closer to 1000 feet. The victim was taken to the hospital for road rash injuries to her legs and is expected to make a full recovery.
A school bus in Maryland found itself transporting more than just children as a goat tried to make itself a passenger. The wayward farm animal crossed the street and waited at a bus stop, jumping aboard the bus with embarking children. While it managed to get on the bus, the goat was not given a ride—it was quickly evicted from the vehicle.
A school bus driver and former police officer was fired from his position at a San Antonio school district after being arrested for his part in the recent biker gang riot in Waco, Texas. Martin Lewis was among the 170 people arrested during the massive motorcycle gang brawl and shootout that resulted in nine bikers killed. The 62-year-old Lewis, an ex-vice detective, has been booked on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.
The suspect in a school bus shooting last week was arrested during a traffic stop in Liberty County, Georgia. Sixteen-year-old Edgar Robles was treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound at an area hospital and charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of firing deadly missiles for the shooting that injured two teenage girls.
When the weather turns beautiful outside, we as school bus drivers see an increase of caretakers at the bus stops with the rider’s younger siblings in tow. This is a good time for the caretakers to greet the kids as they embark or disembark the school bus.
Tires are the all-important connection between vehicle and road. National Tire Safety Week kicks off this month as a reminder that tire upkeep is vital component in driver, fleet and highway safety, as well as crucial in the continued success of a company.
DES MOINES – The 16th National Congress of School Transportation tackled its remaining business Wednesday morning and adjourned after approving three resolutions, including one to communicate to federal officials the crucial value of safe pupil transportation.
DES MOINES – The 16th National Congress of School Transportation rolled along like a well-oiled machine Tuesday with delegates completing their scheduled work several hours ahead of schedule.
Some crimes are considered inexcusable. For the student transportation industry, the prevalence of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses that are loading or unloading students fits this bill.
DES MOINES – Delegates to the 16th National Congress of School Transportation efficiently moved through a number of updates to the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures Manual today during their first full day of work, narrowing rejecting a mandate for crossing control arms.
DES MOINES, Iowa – The 16th National Congress on School Transportation opened Sunday evening with its 300 delegates being urged to set aside local and state concerns in order to set the best safety standards for the entire nation.
Two female students were shot and wounded by a suspect who opened fire on a Florida school bus. Both victims were transported to area hospitals for treatment of non-threatening injuries. One victim, authorities reported, was shot in the face. The shooting occurred after an argument erupted over the death of another student that had happened previously. The two victims were not the intended targets. Police are looking for a 16-year-old boy they suspect opened fire.
A Washington State woman has been sentenced to prison for her hitting a student at a bus stop, who later had to have his right leg amputated. Justin Carey waited for his school bus to pick him up when Shaun Johnson drove off the road and struck Carey. Johnson later admitted she was not aware of hitting anyone. Johnson was found guilty of vehicular assault and possession of methamphetamine in the accident, and will serve three years in jail. Johnson will appeal the verdict. "It's hard to believe her remorse is real when she again still doesn't want to take accountability for her actions," said Carey's mother Janette Chumley.
In a senior prank gone awry, 66 school buses were disabled after unknown students deflated the tires. The effects of this stunt were far reaching, Arizona officials report, with several hundreds students stranded unable to get to school and a number of field trips canceled. The damage was also extensive, causing $3,500 worth of repairs. According to Lt. Brandon Bonney, authorities hesitate to call the incident a prank because the perpetrators face "extensive consequences." While there are no suspects, the perpetrators could face two counts of felony criminal damage in addition to charges for the disruption of school.
The 2015 STN EXPO will kickoff with a general session on how to handle serious security threats involving school buses. The Security Tabletop Exercise general session will be held Sunday, July 26.
Bus drivers from all over New York gather in head-to-head competition to determine who ranks best statewide in an annual school bus safety contest on May 16.
A police officer in Florida shot and killed a bull that was running loose near a school bus stop last week. The bull belonged to a local resident who has a farm. He reportedly charged at kids and trampled the officer. The officer then got up and shot the bull three times. The bull fell over, got up and started to run away. The officer followed the bull and notified dispatchers that he had fired shots, and requested medical help for himself because of an injury to his ankle. The bull later turned around and charged him again, after which the office fired his weapon four more times, killing the animal.
“Attempts were made to stop the animal without violence and allow it to calm without success. I believe Officer Gibbs responded in a manner to protect the lives of all the children that were present and removed the threat,” said Brian Burkeen, Indian River Fire Rescue Assistant Chief.
School bus dragging incidents don't occur often, but when they do they can have tragic results. Earlier this year, a young girl was dragged more than 2,100 feet by her school bus after her backpack was caught in the loading doors.
As Paul was walking through the maintenance shop, he caught a glimpse of a silver bar flying through the air. He woke up several hours later in a hospital bed with a pounding headache. His doctor was standing near by. He told Paul that he had been hit in the head by something one of the other mechanics had thrown. The doctor also told Paul the headaches would continue for three or four weeks. Paul was off work for the entire four weeks.
School districts in the Baltimore area had to alter their transportation operations due to the unrest in the city this week related to protests that devolved into looting and clashes with police over the death of Freddie Gray.
A bill formally introduced in the Louisiana State Legislation seeks to amend a law passed last year that prohibits school bus stops from being located in such a way that students need to cross a road to or from the bus.
A school bus driver south of Montreal made headlines this week for banning his students from reading on the bus, arguing that it is too dangerous. Interestingly, the school board agreed with the driver, saying that because a bus makes frequent and sometimes sudden stops, "Any object, be it a book, a toy or electronic device can be a potential danger when a young child ... gets up to go and get it while the bus is in motion," the school board said in a statement.
A teenager’s prank on the school bus lead to a stop from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) last week. The CHP reported that a 911 caller reported seeing a school bus with a sign that read “Help Us” on the back window. Two units located the bus, which was traveling westbound on State Route 120, and stopped it in order to assess the welfare of the student riders, whom were heading to Lathrop, California to a track meet. The driver told the CHP that the students had put the sign up as a prank earlier in the trip, and that he had instructed them to take it down. While they did as they were told, the sign later went back up. A spokesperson for the students’ school said the responsible student was disciplined.
Jason Dixie, a school bus driver from Fort Wayne, Indiana made the cover of Parade magazine earlier this month for the annual “What People Earn” issue. Dixie had been trying to make the issue for about four years without luck. In those years, he had listed his occupation as “entertainer,” as he travels doing stand-up comedy every summer. But this year, his wife suggested he list his (almost) full-time occupation instead: school bus driver. The magazine’s editorial assistants corresponded with him and told him he was being considered, then strongly considered and ultimately accepted. “I’m on the front page? What a blessing,” he said.
The 10 Commandments for Pupil Transportation”, written by Louk Markham, a school bus driver and author.
I. Thou shall not drive a bus without a current and appropriate CDL and endorsements as required.
II. Thou shall conduct proper pre-trip, between trip, and post-trip inspections each day to ensure the safety of myself, my passengers and the other motorists with which I share the road.
III. Thou shall not allow strangers on thy bus.
IV. Thou shall prevent accidents from happening.
V. Thou shall not use the mechanics’ names in vain.
VI. Thou shall not covet thy co-worker’s students.
VII. Thou shall not covet thy co-worker’s bus.
VIII. Thou shall honor thy supervisor, students, and parents. While we may not always agree with them, we must be respectful of the diversity of the individuals with which we are required to work each day. They give us our daily bread.
IX. Thou shall treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (refer to VIII above)
X. Thou shall remember to keep work days for work and non-work days for family. While our gainful employment is important to our careers and to pay our bills, our family will be with us for a lifetime. As in precision driving, balance is important.
When you think of someone who is a "person of authority," who do you imagine? What is your picture of that leader?
The National School Transportation Association held its annual Spring Bus-In on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday, and members as well as industry partners attended nearly 200 congressional meetings on such topics as the federal Compliance, Safety and Accountability program and drug testing of commercial drivers.
Legislation that has already passed the Maryland House could double the maximum civil penalty levied against motorists who are caught on video running the school bus stop arm and flashing red lights.
The school bus is the safest way for children to get to school, yet this can be compromised if the bus driver is texting or focusing on another distraction. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so it is fitting that the Rhode Island State House passed a bill Wednesday that aims to keep school bus drivers off their cell phones while behind the wheel.
Last February and ever since, the City of New Orleans was in an uproar. While old wounds from Hurricane Katrina are still fresh, the Big Easy was a lot less so as it mourned more senseless loss of life, this time at the hands of a hit-and-run driver at a school bus stop.
A Southern California school bus driver is being hailed as a hero after evacuating 35 students from the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames.
The New York School Bus Contractors Association and Suffolk Region PTA sponsored a demonstration to help parents better understand the safety features on modern school buses and the training requirements of drivers.
Earl “Dub” Gillum, senior trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol delivered the keynote address Saturday night at the TSD Conference. His presentation, sponsored by Q’Straint Sure-Lok was titled “Think” and focused on what drivers can do to “arrive alive” at their destination every day.
FRISCO, Texas — Maine took home the top prize Saturday night at the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo, co-sponsored by School Transportation News and the National Association for Pupil Transportation. Drivers Lisa Gadway and Gregg McGoff from the Maine School Administrative District #49 earned first place for their performance in the competition.
The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) will be having a School Bus Safety Demonstration Day in collaboration with the Suffolk Region PTA on March 25.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a new smartphone app called QCMobile that allows for more convenient access to currently available online safety performance information for interstate bus and truck companies.
It doesn't happen too often nationwide but often enough, especially of late, according to student transportation experts Kathy Furneaux and Peter Lawrence. "It" refers to "100-percent preventable" incidents where students become caught or snagged by the school bus service door during loading or unloading.
New Orleans City Council members today called for several improvements to school transportation safety including the implementation of a Safe Routes to School program and uniform safety standards for school bus stops.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation estimated that more than 10,000 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses each day, according to figures reported during a one-day count held on Feb. 24. Twenty-six school districts and 1,298 school bus drivers from across the state participated in the survey.
Earlier this month, an empty bus from the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) caught fire. In a recent statement, the district emphasized a continuing investigation as well as the safety precautions it is taking in light of the incident.
Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” but school bus folks might disagree. According to many leading school bus dealers, sales of replacement parts are especially robust precisely because school buses are only as strong and reliable as their components. Reliability begins to wane after a route bus has been on the road a dozen years, and bus dealers said aging fleets require continual repairs and upgrades to ensure safety.
A week after new NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said the federal government will re-examine the issue of seat belts on school buses, he was in Arlington, Virginia to speak with elementary students on school bus safety.
A light bulb went on in the head of school bus driver Chris Haugen last fall when he came across small, flashing strobe lights with a simple clip: Students could wear these in the dark! In northeastern Minnesota, the days are short and the winters long and cold, with frequent snowstorms and fog moving in from Lake Superior.
QUEBEC CITY - The Bus Carriers Federation officially kicks off its 27th provincial campaign about security in school transportation, having for theme Did You See Me? Starting today, until February 13 inclusively, various actions will be implemented in all regions of the province to remind road users, students and parents to be vigilant in the presence of school buses. Let's remember that in Quebec, more than 523,000 students are transported by school buses in the morning and in the evening, travelling more than a million kilometres per day.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating two bus stop accidents that happened the same day, Jan. 29, at around the same time, resulting in the death of one student and critical injuries for another.
A quick-acting school bus driver and monitor ensured another tragedy didn't affect the community of Seminole County, Florida this week when the duo came to the aid of an unattended toddler seen running down the street.
Just as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its 2015 Most Wanted List topped by driver distraction, global automakers have launched a new breed of connected cars certain to disrupt the marketplace.
There are thousands of products and technologies designed to help school district administrators and transportation directors perform their jobs better, whether that means improving safety or increasing efficiency. To aid in their decision-making, District Administration magazine asks readers to vote and then publishes their top picks in the December issue. Several products geared toward student transportation made the Readers' Choice Top 100 Products of 2014, including the "Steffi Crosser" glove created by New York bus driver Victoria DeCarlo three years ago.
Why don’t all large school buses have seat belts like cars do?
Many parents are worried about the contradiction between the need to use seat belts and child passenger seats in automobiles and the lack of these safety devices in school buses, which don't require seat belts. One reason seat belts are not required on school buses is that the greater weight and mass of a school bus means that passengers are less vulnerable in a school bus than in an automobile, and they sit above the usual point of impact.
What are the legal standards for vehicles used to transport students?
The federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act prohibits the sale to a school or the purchase by a school of a vehicle under the following circumstances:
1. The vehicle must be sold new;
2. The vehicle must have a capacity of greater than 10;
3. The vehicle must be used to transport pre-primary, primary or secondary students to and from school or school related activities; and
4. The vehicle must not meet federal school bus safety standards.
Why does the law only applies to new vehicles?
The reason is that when the school bus safety provision was added to the existing Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the only applicable vehicles covered by the original Act were those sold new. This made sense under the original Motor Vehicle Safety Act since it was not easy to mandate new safety standards retroactively. There is no question that as to the school bus safety features, this is a loophole in the federal law. However, in the course of investigating illegal van sales to schools, we found most involved sales of new vehicles.
Why does the law apply only to the seller and not the buyer?
Again, this is a feature of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which prohibits manufacturers and dealers from selling unsafe vehicles and does not make it illegal for a consumer to purchase such a vehicle. There is no question that this loophole has created an incentive by some schools to try to defeat the intent of the federal statute by trying to find a dealer willing to sell vans to schools. As the Strebler case indicated, however, the schools undertaking such a course of knowingly utilizing vehicles not meeting federal safety standards face potential liability under ordinary negligence theories unless their state specifically authorizes this use of such vehicles
How does the federal law affect states that allow school to use nonconforming vans?
Federal statute is the supreme law of the land and any sale by a dealer to a school is in violation of the federal statute, notwithstanding efforts by a state to make such transactions lawful. The primary effect of such statutes is to potentially defeat claims against schools utilizing these vehicles from grieving families in wrongful death cases or seriously injured children who have survived collisions in these unauthorized vehicles. States that don't comply can see a withholding of federal highway safety funds, similar to what happens when states don't enforce primary seat belt or drunk driving laws.
What is a pre-primary, primary, or secondary school?
The law has not been firmly established on this issue, but it is likely that any institution carrying the name "school", "academy", "kindergarten", or other similar name will probably be subject to the statute. Moreover, any program which has sequenced instruction or promotes itself as teaching certain basic skills will also likely be considered to be a school.
Does a statute include a school’s summer or camp programs?
Isn’t a van safer because it has seat belts while a school bus does not?
No. In fact, comparable sized small school buses are required to have seat belts because they weigh less than 10,000 pounds. School buses, as indicated above, have markedly superior per road mile safety records than all other vehicles, regardless of the seat belt issue. In fact, school buses are designed with a "compartmentalization" concept, which keeps children within and near their seats by placing the seats forward to them very close and with significant interior padding and other safety features.
What about day care centers, girl scout troops and programs for the elderly?
Congress, in its wisdom, created special protections on nonconforming vans especially for children on their way to and from school and transported by their school district. This law has not been extended to protect others, and many safety experts say that Congress should look to address this issue, particularly for children transported by day care centers.
Aren’t school buses significantly more expensive than vans?
The initial cost of a 15 seater school bus is approximately $8,000.00 to $9,000.00 greater than a comparable sized van. However, the school bus has a significantly longer road life and is less expensive to maintain. Recent calculations have determined that the per road mile cost of a 15 seater school bus is actually cheaper than a comparable sized van.
If parents can transport kids legally in these vans, why can’t schools?
Parents can transport kids on motorcycles to school or let them cross dangerous roads unsupervised, and no one would suggest schools can do this. Federal law expects higher levels of safety to be provided by school officials transporting school children to school or to school related activities.
Can school transportation help to enforce the law to protect child safety?
There are three options for school transportation personnel:
1. You can inform all school officials attempting to purchase these nonconforming vans that such a sale violates the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the seller is breaking the law. Moreover, the purchaser of such a vehicle faces potential liability under the common law of negligence should a child be injured or die in a collision in a nonconforming van. You may want to go on record about such unlawful sales because schools and school districts may be very reluctant to engage in such sales if they know that there is, in writing, concerns raised about these vehicles that might be disclosed later should some tragic event occur.
2. Any violation known can be reported confidentially to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The contact person is Mr. Allen Kam in the Office of General Counsel, whose number is 202-366- 5248. Based upon recent new attention to this area by NHTSA, it is likely that any report will be promptly investigated and sanctions taken against the dealer who sells such a vehicle.
3. You may advise families who have children injured or killed in such vehicles of their potential legal rights to pursue damage claims against the parties who participated in the sale or purchase of nonconforming vans. In the final analysis, the threat of liability may be the most effective deterrent against the use of nonconforming vans to transport school children.
In safety, we often focus on policies and procedures, training and maintenance, while trying to employ some behavior-based safety ideas. However, sometimes it's the little things that can have the biggest impact. Non-safety fields such as crime reduction and psychology sometimes provide interesting ideas and concepts that have possible use in the area of safety management.
One of the leading school bus stop-arm enforcement companies announced customers will soon have a new video camera option to choose from.
GREENVILLE, Wis. — School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) ("School Specialty" or "the Company"), a leading distributor of supplies, furniture and both supplemental and curriculum products to the education marketplace, today announced the launch of SSI GUARDIAN, a new curriculum-based security initiative designed to keep schools, and our children safe.
Not long ago, children routinely moved around their neighborhoods by foot or by bicycle, and that was often how they traveled to and from school. That is no longer the case, according to the Safe Routes to School Online Guide from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and partners.
Three times is not always a charm but, rather, an alarm. This week saw a third case in Upstate New York of a student being dragged by a school bus for some distance before the driver noticed, all because the child's backpack got caught in the doors. Although no one was seriously injured, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation issued a call to its members to step up driver training.
This legislative session has brought the introduction of a number of bills related to student transportation. These bills span across many different issues within the industry, including student safety and security, driver pay and alternative fuels.
In recent weeks, four students lost their lives in school transportation–related accidents, three of them as pedestrians en route to their bus stops. Two high school students were killed within the first two weeks of the new year as they crossed busy roads to catch their school buses in the early morning.
Though recent acts of terrorism here and abroad have many on edge, school security professionals maintain that the more likely threat to children’s safety, particularly aboard yellow buses, is posed by friends and neighbors. This is why school bus drivers need to be vigilant and prepared for these “homegrown” acts of violence from district students and their parents.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced last week that Mark Rosekind is the new administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after a nomination from President Barack Obama and a confirmation from the U.S. Senate.
BusBulletin.com is a web-based notification system designed specifically for pupil transportation that is simple, fast, and easy-to-use.
Cortland N.Y. – The Automotive Lift Institute, Inc. (ALI) announces the availability of the 2015 edition of ALI’s “VEHICLE LIFTING POINTS for FRAME ENGAGING LIFTS”.
GRANDVIEW, MO -- 2015 will mark Peterson Manufacturing Company’s 70th year of keeping “Solutions on the Move” in the vehicle safety lighting industry. Since its inception in 1945, the family-owned business has become the industry’s “Quiet Giant” -- a quarter-billion-dollar, multi-faceted corporation now providing thousands of lighting-related products for customers worldwide.
The first day of school after the holidays was a sad one for Larimore Public Schools #44 in the northeast part of North Dakota as a school bus driver and a high school student were killed and 12 other students were injured after a collision with a freight train.
With interest increasing nationwide on how to set up school bus stop-arm enforcement programs with local police and court systems, another partnership is coming to market to provide municipalities with solutions.Seon announced in late March that it and Illinois-based RedSpeed USA are teaming up to target motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.
School Transportation News reviews the 2014 online articles that received the most traffic over the past 12 months.
Preventing problem behavior on your school bus is only part of the equation. In addition to dealing with student behavior, drivers also have to deal with the parents of students. Some parents are active in their child’s daily routine and are often at the bus stop communicating with the driver regularly.
Playing Santa, school bus contractor First Student teamed up with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to hold a coat drive to benefit district students in need. Just before the holidays nearly 150 CPS students, who otherwise may have gone without, received warm coats in a city known for freezing temperatures.
While the outcomes of two separate pedestrian accidents at school bus stops this week were different, the circumstances and setting bore certain similarities. Both teens were hit by motorists who illegally passed their stopped school buses, and both accidents occurred in the dark pre-dawn hours.
The sheer number of pedestrian accidents in school bus loading and unloading zones, some fatal, shows many motorists are either indifferent or uninformed about school bus stop laws. While those who are uninformed may contest their school bus passing tickets, a recent Maine Supreme Court ruling indicates that these violators will be held accountable.
We are excited to announce that registration is officially open for the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo. Anyone can register for the Roadeo. The only prerequisite is the desire to improve one’s skills.
National Express Corporation named the four students who won the company's 2014 Safety Poster Contest that highlights the diligent work performed each day by not only the company's school bus drivers but all those across North America. NEC is the owner of Durham School Services and Petermann in the U.S. as well as Stock Transportation in Canada.
Despite three serious school bus fires occuring in the past two weeks, two in Texas and one in Florida, there was no loss of life thanks to the widely reported heroism of the three bus drivers involved.
Police have released new findings about the fatal Dec. 2 double school bus crash in Knoxville, Tennessee, even as investigations continue.
The Region Nine Development Commission in Mankato, Minnesota received a 2014 Excellence in Regional Transportation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for Safe Routes to School Planning in Rural Districts. Winners will be honored at the 2014 National Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conference, Dec. 3-5 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Itasca, Ill. – Occupational injury researchers that will be presenting at the 2015 National Occupational Injury Research Symposium in May are invited to apply for the Stakeholder Collaboration in Occupational Injury Research Award, sponsored by the National Safety Council. The award recognizes outstanding partnerships that will lead to the end of workplace fatalities and includes a $1,000 prize.
Communities around Ferguson, Missouri, were on edge while awaiting a grand jury's decision on whether to indict a white police officer for shooting an unarmed black teenage boy in August. The announcement to not indict the officer was made at 8 p.m. Central time. On Tuesday schools around Ferguson decided to close after a night of violent protests that resulted in the burning and looting of many businesses.
On Wednesday, the family of Raven June Edwards, 8, announced she passed away two weeks after she was hit by a vehicle at her bus stop in Deatsville. She had been in critical condition at Children's Hospital of Alabama after suffering a fractured skull and subsequent swelling on her brain.
Rep. Oscar Longoria introduced a bill designed to increase student safety at school bus stops, but some local school districts are worried it could drastically increase operating costs without a change to the state's transportation funding program.
You might not expect to hear teen slang like "YOLO" roll off the tongues of many state directors of pupil transportation, yet the term took on a whole new meaning on the final day of the NASDPTS Conference last Wednesday. Todd Watkins, transportation director at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, discussed his district’s unique safety awareness program, “YOLO: You Only Live Once.”
Wikipedia tells us "A truism is a claim that is so obvious or self-evident as to be hardly worth mentioning". I think we would all agree that our work as K12 transportation professionals is one that is filled with truisms, concepts that are so obvious or self evident we might find ourselves taking them for granted.
In recognition of recent innovative transportation initiatives, Houston Independent School District has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration magazine. The Transportation Department was lauded for programs meant to improve the operational efficiency and safety of its buses and drivers, including its safety-oriented driver training and “green” bus fleet.
A student in Youngstown, Ohio died yesterday after falling under the rear wheels of a school bus exiting her high school parking lot. This morning the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office confirmed the victim was Faith McCullough-Wooster, 14, a freshman at East High School and member of the volleyball team.
Seon announced the winners of this year’s anti-bullying “A Bully-Free Zone” coloring contest at the NAPT Conference & Trade Show, which concluded yesterday in St. Louis. Held during National Bullying Prevention Month in October, the competition was a huge success, the company said, receiving more than 500 entries from school districts across the U.S. and Canada.
On Monday Christopher A. Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), discussed "To Belt or Not to Belt: That is the Question" at the NAPT Summit and NASDPTS Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. He also touched on the dangers of distracted driving and sleep apnea among school bus drivers.
Beginning this week and leading up to the 2015 TSD Conference, STN will be posting a series of “Conference Connection” news bites that will inform and update student transportation professionals on all aspects of the conference, trade show and the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo.
This week kicks off our Conference Connection series on stnonline.com. Be sure to check this Top Story section for future Conference Connection updates!
We’d like to let you know that our redesigned website’s schedule-at-a-glance lists more than three-dozen topics designed to offer workable solutions and practical answers to your everyday challenges in special needs transportation.
Below is a sample of some can't-miss workshops:
Keep checking the TSD Conference website for more updates. Through social media, be sure to look for #ConferenceConnection posts on our Facebook page and Twitter account.
We hope to see you in Frisco, Texas!
March 20-25, 2015
Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel and Convention Center
The results of a new survey by Fleetmatics Group PLC show that parents would like more visibility into their children’s safety aboard the school bus, as well as more accountability for operators. Nearly nine in 10 parents responded they want to see closer GPS monitoring of buses and their drivers.
On Monday, Marysville School District bus driver Josie Powers thanked the 700-plus community members who turned out to support high school students as they returned to the site of an Oct. 24 school shooting. A male freshman opened fire on his friends and cousins in the cafeteria, killing three girls and wounding two boys before turning the gun on himself.
While Bullying Awareness Month brought this issue to the center stage in October, many school and transportation administrators may not know that bullying is a civil rights issue for students with special needs. The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued guidance to schools outlining ways to prevent bullying and protect students, including the nation’s 6.5 million students who have disabilities.
Today’s marketplace is sending signals on what’s to come in the next generation of school bus seating technology. The biggest trends — cited by seating suppliers and a recent School Transportation News survey of transportation directors — point to the need for vandalism prevention, style enhancement, optimized capacity, weight reduction and restraints, especially as state laws address three-point seat belts on large buses.
The growing problem of a school bus driver shortage threatens the transportation programs of many schools nationwide while also compromising student safety. Several news reports in recent weeks have shown videos of overcrowded school buses, from Texas to Virginia, which is a direct result of a lack of drivers to cover daily routes. Students are seen standing as well as sitting in the aisles and on each other’s laps.
Ten students were killed in the school bus loading and unloading zone during the 2013-2014 school year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Kansas State Department of Education. Five children were struck by a school bus and five by passing motorists.
PHOENIX - School bus drivers should be trained to recognize abrupt personality changes and other aberrant behavior in their riders to help prevent the gun violence plaguing school campuses from spilling over onto school buses.
Last week there were no reported student fatalities around school buses or bus stops during National School Bus Safety Week, which is welcome news after recent tragedies in Arkansas and Florida. To raise awareness of unsafe driving around school buses and bus stops, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation conducted a one-day survey of illegal bus passing on Oct. 21.
One month after police began investigating the death of a school bus driver, they have concluded that "human error" by a student caused the bus to run over Laura Zborowski during a routine safety drill.
The theme "At my stop, you stop" is being echoed across North America this week as National School Bus Safety Week kicked off on Monday.
Even as National School Bus Safety Week kicked off, a new report confirms what the student transportation industry and traffic safety experts have known to be true for years: Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of teen fatalities.
In honor of School Bus Safety Week, from Oct. 20 to 24, the New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) is supporting tougher bus safety legislation. Robert Pape, the organization's president, noted that school buses are by far the safest way for a child to get to and from school — yet additional safeguards are needed.
ELYRIA, Ohio – Through its suite of active and passive safety systems, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems helps to enhance the safety of today’s commercial vehicles, yet it reinforces the point that no technology replaces the need for skilled drivers practicing safe driving habits on our highways. The company supports the efforts of Operation Safe Driver, taking place Oct. 19-25, to help fleets and owner-operators meet the ongoing challenges of keeping highways safe for everyone.
School bus contractor Student Transportation Inc. kicked off National School Bus Safety Week celebrations a few days early as it honored nearly a dozen employees with induction into the company's second annually Safety Wall of Fame.
A recent federal appeals court ruling has released the North Pocono School District in Pennsylvania from a lawsuit filed by the parents of a disabled boy who was hurt during a 2006 bus evacuation drill. The ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supported a decision by U.S. Middle District Judge Robert D. Mariani.
This morning dozens of people in Port Charlotte turned on their outdoor lights in honor of Angel Garcia, a teenager who was hit by a truck last week while walking to his bus stop. The family of the 17-year-old made the decision to take the boy off life support Thursday afternoon, just days after the accident.
Recent news reports show that the problem of parents trespassing on school buses has become relatively common — bearing out what presenters Denny Coughlin of School Bus Training Company and Bret Brooks of Gray Ram Tactical, told attendees during a live event at the STN EXPO in July.
The iconic yellow bus has represented educational opportunities for children and adults alike for generations. For younger kids not yet in school, it inspires curiosity about the school experience.
The National Transportation Safety Board updated an announcement made over the weekend that it had sent a "go-team" to Davis, Oklahoma to investigate a fatal bus crash late Friday involving a commercial charter bus owned by North Central Texas College and an 18-wheel tractor-trailer.
Within the past two months, two student transportation issues have repeatedly surfaced in the news — overcrowded school buses and bus driver shortages — and it appears they are linked in certain areas from the Southwest to the East Coast.
The author of a historic, sweeping school bus safety bill in Congress is pushing for hearings to begin by year's end and before both the House and Senate adjourn for the holidays.
The life of an 11-year-old girl hung in the balance after she and another 13-year-old girl were hit by a truck at their school bus stop this morning in Methuen, Massachusetts. The child suffered serious head trauma, was transported to Lawrence General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, and then airlifted to Tufts Medical Center, where she is listed in critical condition, according to authorities.
Yellow buses lined the road in Akron, Ohio, yesterday at the funeral of school bus driver Laura Zborowski, 51, who was fatally struck by her own bus after saving a student during a Sept. 16 evacuation drill. Yet, amid the public outpouring of support, more questions are arising about her death.
CORTLAND, N.Y. – The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has partnered with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) of Toronto to help close a critical gap in safety education for the operators of vehicle lifts in Ontario. WSPS members now have access to Lifting It Right: 2014 Online Edition, the interactive, Web-based vehicle lift safety course developed by ALI and dealer services provider KPA.
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas held their annual Safety Expo, a training program for more than 1,100 bus drivers and attendants, from Aug. 4-14. Participants learned about emergency evacuations, gang awareness, student management, first aid and green driving.
On Friday morning, two boys in different states were struck down by passing vehicles while waiting at their bus stops. Craig M. Little, Jr., 7, was hit by an SUV in Berkeley County, South Carolina, and later died, while Donald R. Tipton, 15, died at the scene after being hit by a DWI suspect in St. Clair, Missouri.
Recent events have caused many school, pupil transportation and public safety officials to re-examine the threat of school-related and school bus-related terrorism. While I am not predicting acts of terrorism, there are indicators that our risk for terrorist attacks on U.S. soil has increased.
In his 17-year career as a bus driver, Chris Johnson of Chilton County Schools in Alabama is familiar with the statistics of illegal school bus passing. But he has only seen the violation occur twice — once while subbing on another driver’s route and once on video.
Deb Hubsmith announced she is not returning as executive director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, which she founded 10 years ago. She cited an ongoing battle with acute myeloid leukemia as the reason.
Unprecedented. Informative. Eye-opening. Attendees used these adjectives to describe a SWAT team demonstration during the 21st annual North American School Bus EXPO Conference that kicked off July 26 in Reno, Nevada. These same words exemplify the EXPO’s various educational and networking opportunities to arm student transportation professionals with the practical skills and support they need to succeed.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory prompting drivers and students alike to make safety a priority near school buses and school zones now that schools across the country are coming back in session.
This week Mississippi approved the statewide use of the Gardian Angel school bus lighting system, making it the second state in just a few months to give it the green light. The state of Wyoming also approved it last June.
The Holderness family, who burst into the Internet scene last year when their “Christmas Jammies” video posted to YouTube video went viral, has done it once again.
The Arkansas Department of Education launched a new theme for this year's school bus safety campaign that calls attention to the state law that prohibits motorists from overtaking a school bus that is loading and unloading students.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board announced today that it has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment regarding proposed changes to rules governing investigation procedures. The rules are laid out in 49 C.F.R. part 831.
A new school bus law in Louisiana is getting plenty of press as school districts prepare for the new school year, including planning their bus routes and relocating bus stops. HB 600 prohibits school bus drivers from picking up or dropping off children while the bus is in a lane of traffic.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new rule to enhance rollover structural integrity of motorcoaches and "over-the-road" buses in the event of a crash to improve roof strength. The proposal comes on the heels of a new requirement implemented last year to require lap-shoulder seat belts on motorcoaches to improve passenger safety.
At the STN EXPO on Sunday, attendees had the opportunity to watch a live demonstration with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and SWAT deputies showing effective responses to high-risk situations involving school buses, such as hijacking.
The pre-conference part of STN EXPO kicked off Saturday with two courses, including Bus Driver Prevention and Detection of Violence, presented by Casey Utterback of Gray Ram Tactical, LLC.
DECATUR, Ga. — City Schools of Decatur will soon become the 12th school district in Georgia to partner with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to deploy CrossingGuard®, ATS' technology to help school districts address the growing problem of illegal passing of school buses that are stopped and boarding or disembarking children.
A common theme runs through conversations about special needs transportation for Head Start through high school: Build on good community relationships that lead to successful mobility. The earlier the preparation, the easier it should be when it comes time to obtain funding or become compliant.
The 44th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition was held over the weekend in Charleston, S.C., and Russel Altizer of Montgomery County (Va.) Public Schools recorded the top score in Small Bus division for his third title in the last four years.
Our next blog will likely come to you during or shortly after the 21st STN EXPO that starts next weekend in Reno, Nev. Until then, a few items of interest to wrap up this week.
This summer dozens of school districts are conducting active shooter drills with law enforcement in response to recent school shootings, yet a new study indicates that other, more prevalent risks on school grounds and buses result in more student fatalities per year.
The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) recently announced the state winners of the 2014 School Bus Safety Poster Contest at their summer symposium held jointly with the Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said 8,000 more health professionals have been added to the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) since the new system for USDOT medical examinations launched last month with 22,000 providers.
A group of students from the Buffalo City School District (BCSD) recently put together a public service announcement encouraging fellow students who ride the school bus to “Buckle Up!” with three-point, lap-shoulder seat belts.
CORTLAND, NY – The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) is aware of news reports that Complete Hydraulic Service & Equipment Sales, Inc. of Franklin, Ind., is under investigation by the FBI.
CINCINNATI— First Student drivers had an impressive showing at the recent 34th Annual Alberta Provincial School Bus Roadeo held in Hinton, Alberta. Drivers from First Student locations across Alberta competed with each other and their counterparts from other companies. First Student drivers dominated the top ten of the Big Bus category and took first place honors in both the Big Bus and Small Bus categories. The Small Bus category was new this year to the Alberta competition. Additionally, the four-member Top Place Team included three First Student drivers.
In an interview two days after the June 10 shooting at Reynolds High School that killed a student and injured a teacher, Reynolds (Ore.) School District Superintendent Linda Florence discussed the importance of training all personnel to effectively respond to school violence.
Nearly a year after the public premiere of “Impact: After the Crash,” a documentary about the 1988 Carroll County, Ky., church bus crash caused by a drunk driver, the film is being incorporated into classes for people convicted of driving under the influence. Jason Epperson, the film’s director, participated in a DUI training program at Eastern Kentucky University with crash survivor Harold Dennis.
On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley lent her approval to a long-awaited bill allowing stop-arm cameras on school buses, SB 718, which was added as an amendment to HB 5014. The measure to permit video cameras to record motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses takes effect immediately.
The Palm Beach County School District voted on May 13 to enter into a contract with video surveillance provider AngelTrax to install digital cameras on every school bus by the start of the 2014-2015 school year. The school board will spend up to $1 million on cameras to better monitor the students who ride the district's 600 buses.
A webinar presented by School Transportation News advised student transporters on the steps necessary to enter into inter-local government agreements with law enforcement and the judicial system to convert illegal passing incidents caught on video into citations — and eventually a reduced number of violations.
Why doesn't the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandate crossing gates at the front of school buses when they require stop arms on the side of these vehicles? Learn why and more in this month's digital edition.
SAN ANTONIO — Medicaid reimbursements for school bus riders with special needs was a popular topic here during The Zone 2014, Zonar's second annual user conference, especially as the company announced ZPass 2.0, its next-generation student ridership tracking hardware and software.
State Rep. Robert L. Kosowski last month introduced two bills to the Michigan House with the same goal — requiring seat belts on new school buses — and both remain in the House Transportation Committee. HB 5436, or “The Pupil Transportation Act,” would mandate that all new school buses provide a seat belt for every pupil, yet does not specify if it must be a lap belt or a lap/shoulder belt.
National Express Corporation recently donated a school bus to a South Carolina community center and lauded employees in both California and Texas for their efforts to clean up the environment in one instance and create a safer environment in another.
The verdict is in: School districts can be held liable for the criminal behavior of bus drivers and aides who abuse students in their charge. In recent news reports about sexual-abuse lawsuits involving the Olympia (Wash.), North Branch (Minn.) and Newburgh (N.Y.) School Districts, the operative terms are “negligent” and “failed to prevent.”
ITASCA, Ill. – The National Safety Council announced it is accepting nominations for the NSC Rising Stars of Safety, presented by DuPont Sustainable Solutions. Awarded annually, this honor recognizes individuals younger than 40 who stand out in the safety field by displaying creative and innovative ideas. Candidates must also have five or more years of direct safety experience and a foundation of safety management.
Suffolk Transportation in Bay Shore, N.Y., is partnering with Child Check-Mate and Zonar to allow service managers to monitor in real time if sleeping children are left alone on school buses at the end of routes.
Fifteen school districts in Texas are piloting a fully integrated security and transit management system called Busguard launched by both Dallas County Schools and local business Force Multiple Solutions.
Wheelchair securement manufacturer Q'Straint has opened a new research center in the UK that includes a simulator and high-speed cameras to study the dynamics of how wheelchair passengers are affected during a crash.
School bus accidents related to sleeping or dozing drivers happen. Lack of proper sleep can make it difficult for a driver to focus their eyes or react quickly, which may lead to accidents even if the driver doesn’t fall asleep.
It seems unlikely that school bus drivers would fall asleep while driving considering the continuous noise from the students on the bus, shorter trips, and frequent stops. However, sleep apnea is a physical condition that causes repeated sleep disturbances leading to poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of attention and alertness that can lead to accidents for a school bus driver. Drivers with Sleep Apnea may not be considered “fit for duty”. The condition should be diagnosed by a physician.
What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
The disturbance in sleep is caused by a narrowing or closure of the upper respiratory airway. This causes pauses in breathing that prevent air from flowing into or out of a sleeping person’s airways. Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, morning headaches and nausea, gasping or choking while sleeping, loss of sex drive/impotence, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability and/or feelings of depression, disturbed sleep, concentration and memory problems, and frequent nighttime urination. Other factors that can contribute to this condition include a family history of sleep apnea, and smoking. Physical characteristics such as a small upper airway, overweight, recessed chin, small jaw, large overbite, and large neck size can also contribute to the condition. A medical exam by a physician is the best method to determine if the condition exists.
Can I still drive if I have sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is getting more attention as a medical condition that can lead to vehicle accidents with commercial drivers. Just last month the President signed into law a bill addressing sleep apnea and commercial drivers. The bill directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to initiate a rulemaking process to revise its medical guidance on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other sleep disorders. Currently the physical exam for commercial drivers addresses sleep apnea under respiratory dysfunction part of the exam. Drivers are to report conditions such as sleep disorders, pauses in breathing while asleep, daytime sleepiness, loud snoring on the medical exam report and medical examiners are to address any respiratory dysfunction “that in any way is likely to interfere with the driver's ability to safely control and drive a commercial motor vehicle.” The individual is to be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and therapy. If the medical examiner determines the condition serious enough to interfere with safely operating the commercial motor vehicle a person can be declared “unfit for duty.”
Most cases of sleep apnea can be treated successfully, once diagnosed, and a driver can be medically qualified to drive provided they continue to properly treat the condition. For more information on sleep apnea, see the FMCSA website at www.FMCSA.dot.gov.
Article courtesy of Keystone Insurers Group
An adequate, accessible supply of parts is vital for a maintenance program, but so is technician training. Blue Bird will demonstrate this and more during special training sessions held in conjunction with the 21st annual STN EXPO in Reno, Nev., July 26-30.
School districts and school bus companies could be allowed to install video cameras on school buses to capture motorists who illegally drive past the extended stop arm during student loading and unloading, according to a bill introduced in January.
The American School Bus Council recognized Lt. Ray Robinson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol with a School Bus Champion Award during a general session at the recently held Transporting Students with Disabilities & Preschoolers National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Lt. Robinson is the first law enforcement official to receive this award.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman announced today she is stepping down from her presidential appointment to become president and CEO of the National Safety Council. The move is effective April 25.
Yesterday the state Senate gave final approval to a bill that would require Wyoming school districts to equip new school buses with cameras by the 2015-16 school year to target motorists who illegally pass stopped buses. After passing on a 19-11 vote, House Bill 5 was sent to Gov. Matt Mead for his consideration.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Student transportation personnel should be on the lookout for aggressive, anti-social behavior as well as depression, identity confusion, sudden loss of self-esteem and psychological problems in student riders as they all can be signs sexual abuse.
Studies show that surveillance cameras can help reduce crime in some cases. Police have had some success. But will stop-arm cameras and the enforcement of the stop-arm law reduce the amount of stop-arm violations? The jury is still out, but if you are considering adding the technology, this is one of the important questions that should be asked.
On Friday a teenager was struck and killed as he crossed the road a few feet from his home to catch a school bus in Lancaster, Calif. Gage Rossi, 14, a freshman at East Side High School, said goodbye to his mother just seconds before he was run over at 6 a.m., when it was still pitch dark.
NASDPTS followed up on an executive board vote in October to update its position on school bus lap-shoulder seat belts with a paper that outlines its new full support for the implementation of occupant restraint systems, as long as student ridership is not impacted.
Shaud Wilson, 6, of Gentilly, La., was crossing the road to his school bus stop Monday morning when a motorist fatally struck him in front of his shocked mother and siblings. New Orleans police quickly launched a search for the driver and vehicle, and they located both five hours later.
ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. — Clarke County School District has partnered with Athens-Clarke County and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to deploy CrossingGuard®, ATS' new technology to help school districts address the growing problem of the illegal passing of school buses that are stopped and have lights flashing. Georgia leads the nation in school bus fatalities, with nearly a dozen children killed in the past five years. In response to this alarming trend, last year, the Georgia legislature approved the use of cameras to help enforce school bus stop-arm laws.
A new law enacted last month reversed a previous requirement that Wisconsin school bus companies retrofit older buses to meet current state standards for exterior lights.
A 6-year-old walking to school in the Bronx was struck and injured by a school bus this month at an intersection normally manned by a crossing guard. School officials said the regular guard called in sick and the replacement guard showed up over an hour later, after the accident.
Two staff members at the Lakeview Woods State School in Lee’s Summit, Mo., were fired after a disabled 19-year-old student was left behind on a school bus Jan. 10, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Kansas State Department of Education announced its 2012-2013 Loading Survey is available for viewing online and downloading.
The National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) posted several online resources discussed last month during a Bus Safety Roundtable sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
ASHTABULA, Ohio — Today, Amerisearch Background Alliance announced that their clients now have access to view commercial drivers' safety records directly from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). PSP provides employers with a driver's FMCSA safety information during the hiring process.
A 5-year-old student at Lincoln Elementary in North Bergen, N.J., suffered a head injury after another student pushed her to the ground, and school officials responded by putting her on another bus rather than seeking immediate medical attention, said an attorney for the girl's family.
A six-year-old boy was hit and killed by a passing truck at his school bus stop Wednesday morning in Orangeburg County, S.C. Police confirmed that Zion Toland was attempting to cross Highway 178 when the accident occurred at 7:15 a.m., about 13 minutes before sunrise.
The saying goes, “time heals all wounds.” But that amount of time is different for everyone, and sometimes some wounds aren’t mended completely, though the individual has learned to deal with the lingering effects of a tragic, emotional event through counseling and therapy.
States reported the same number of fatalities for the 2012-2013 school year during school bus loading and unloading operations as for the previous school year, the Kansas State Department of Education released to STN on Tuesday.
Authorities say a 6-year-old boy has died after being struck by a school bus on Monday morning in Waterford, N.J. Family members identified the victim as Edmund Bock.
The man who attacked a bus driver aboard a packed school bus on Nov. 5, 2010 has been sentenced to five years deferred adjudication through a plea bargain agreement in Texas’ 71st District Court.
MARIETTA, Ga. – DEKRA, the world leader in automotive testing, inspection and certification, recently hosted R.W. "Bob" O'Gorman, president of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI), at the company's German headquarters for a series of meetings about vehicle lift safety.
When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan shared his opinion about the benefits of later high-school start times earlier this fall, he brought national attention to the growing movement pushing for this change as a way to improve teens’ health and academic success.
A breakdown of states that have laws authorizing school districts to install video surveillance cameras on or near stop arm equipment to capture incidences of motorists who illegally pass school buses while loading or unloading students. See the color code, below, and view a summary of current state laws as compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Updated Jan. 7, 2016
Orange = Law enacted
Yellow = Individual school districts or municipalities decision
Blue = Legislation introduced or pending
Gray = No legislation to date
Red = Legislation introduced but did not pass
*Sources: STN, National Conference on State Legislatures
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation named Sen. Catherine Young its Legislator of the Year for introducing a bill that would allow video collected at school bus stops of motorists illegally passing the bus, to be used as evidence for prosecution.
No matter where they live, many children board school buses in the dark most of the year. Now, the Livingston Educational Service Agency (LESA) in Michigan is trying to increase safety by piloting the new Gardian Angel Lighting System for school buses (pictured at left).
Though North Carolina’s Operation Stop Arm campaign concluded Oct. 25, the State Highway Patrol (SHP) will continue patrolling school zones during peak hours to ensure student safety.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Project Yellow Light, Mazda Motorsports, National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Ad Council opened their Project Yellow Light contest to high school and college students nationwide.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Starting today, motorists who travel some of Washington County’s roads should be extra careful not to pass a stopped school bus when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, or they could receive a violation notice as part of the school system’s efforts to use technology to make the streets safer for school children.
NASDPTS changed its formal stance on the installation and use of three-point lap/shoulder seat belts on school buses from supporting them only if funding is available to fully championing them, regardless if districts have money or not, in a forthcoming position paper.
TEMPE, Ariz. — American Traffic Solutions (ATS) recognizes National School Bus Safety Week on Oct. 21-25, reminding motorists to exercise caution when school buses are stopped and boarding or disembarking children.
CINCINNATI, Ohio — School buses are the safest form of transportation for traveling to and from school. However, students face an increasing danger when entering and exiting the bus, which is why First Student is joining the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT) in raising awareness for National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 21 to 25.
WALL, N.J. — Student Transportation Inc. ("STI") CA:STB +0.77% STB +1.28% , the premier, innovative provider of school bus transportation services in North America, joins school districts throughout the United States and Canada in recognizing the importance of National School Bus Safety Week taking place next week, October 21 - 25. This year's School Bus Safety Week theme is "Stand Back from the Yellow and Black," which is a reminder to students and motorists about the dangers that exist outside the school bus on a daily basis.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System in Salisbury, N.C., is mourning the loss of a high school student who was fatally struck by an oncoming vehicle as he crossed the road to his waiting school bus.
CARLSBAD, Calif. — I Drive Safely, the nation's leading online provider of driver education training, today announced the winners of its Teen Essay Contest, which was designed to encourage teens to use safe driving habits during the "100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers" from Memorial Day to Labor Day. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), seven of the top 10 deadliest driving days of the year occur in June, July and August.
The state of Georgia is proof that once states pass legislation in support of outfitting school buses with stop-arm cameras to catch illegal passers, such programs will spread.
LOS ANGELES — A shocking report shows that half of the states don't require schools and day care centers to have a disaster plan. The report from Save the Children, as quoted in USA Today, says that many states also don't require evacuation plans and don't have a system for reuniting children with parents after a disaster.
Transportation officials at Clark County School District in Las Vegas are hoping that cameras installed on two yellow buses to capture motorists illegally passing school buses will provide enough evidence on the number of violators to prompt legislators to amend the current state law.
After 8-year-old girl Elizabeth Bates was hit and killed as she exited her school bus in 2008, her family went to work to prevent another similar tragedy. Thanks to their efforts, there is a new school bus safety law on the books, HB 2170, which requires all vehicles to stop for school buses on every road — including rural roads — and for bus drivers to engage their stop arms and flashing lights on these roads as well.
A campaign at Anderson School District Five in South Carolina is targeting illegal school bus passers and educating the community on existing state law, while aiming to amend the law to allow video-surveillance solutions for enforcement.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services raised an alarm that too many motorists continue to ignore school bus stops, or may not know or understand state laws, according to "unfortunately consistent" results from its 2013 Stop Arm Violation Survey.
“Child hit near bus stop, family wants something to be done.” “Bus stop safety questioned.” “Cape councilman wants no school bus stop left in the dark.” These recent headlines are sure to draw more attention now that kids are preparing to board yellow buses and head back to school.
The National Transportation Safety Board outlined investigators' findings and called for change in a board meeting covering newly released highway accident reports on two fatal bus collisions: the first in Chesterfield, N.J., on Feb. 16, 2012, and the second in Port St. Lucie, Fla., a month later.
As 2013 dawned, the nation continued to mourn the lives lost in the Sandy Hook school shooting, and soon after, mourned a heroic Alabama school bus driver who died protecting his students in late January. Legislators in every state rushed to draft bills designed to create new protections for American students in the wake of the murders, and in the Midland City, Ala., case, a lengthy hostage standoff.
A young boy gets on your school bus, carrying a guitar case. He seems more quiet than usual as you say, “Hi” to him as he boards. He puts his head down and walks down the aisle as if he knows what to expect. As he passes a group of students in the back of the bus they jostle him, one of them tousles his hair, and they laugh at him. He sits down, his head bowed for a second, when suddenly he stands up with a pump shotgun.
Eight bus drivers from Shrewsbury, Mass.-based AA Transportation were recognized for their selfless and heroic efforts in the aftermath of the explosions during the Boston Marathon.
As superintendents across the nation finalize their 2013-2014 budgets, many are allocating more monies toward upgrading school security in light of the tragic shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., and Midland City, Ala. School officials are reevaluating campus entry points and teaming with law enforcement on training and prevention, and some plan to post armed guards at every school site.
While safety is the primary goal of all student transportation professionals, those in charge of designing seating and securement systems for students with special needs have a particularly challenging road.
When Eric Watkins first heard that Dale County, Ala., school bus driver Charles Poland, Jr., had been fatally shot Jan. 29 while protecting students from an armed, on-board trespasser, the transportation director of Stewart County Schools in Dover, Tenn., was immediately transported back to March 2, 2005.
The damage from Superstorm Sandy sustained on the Eastern Seaboard during the fall of 2012 serves as the latest important reminder that school districts and school bus companies must be prepared for natural disasters. During a natural disaster, school facilities and vehicles are at risk for damage and require protection in the form of an action plan. In addition, school buses may be needed for evacuation and should be prepared at all times to be available.
This is why it's essential for transportation directors and fleet managers to develop a comprehensive School Bus Flood Evacuation Program that includes the following elements:
In preparation for our January 2013 magazine edition, in which we focus on security-related news and views, we sat down with William Arrington (pictured, above), general manager of the Transportation Security Administration's Office of Highway and Motorcarrier, to discuss the state of the First Observer program.
NAPT Summit attendees heard from Christopher Hart, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, when he delivered the keynote address Oct. 22. Before the conference, Hart spoke with School Transportation News about the specific challenges facing the student transportation industry.
Last month, STN contributor Art Gissendaner asked a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesperson to update the industry on what the federal government is doing in regards to researching school bus fires.
Tiremaker Bridgestone Americas, Inc., published a report from a recently completed survey of more than 2,000 drivers ages 15 to 21 that indicates these novice vehicle operators feel they are not susceptible to distractions while behind the wheel.
A child passenger safety training expert will provide insights into the revised FMVSS 213 that applies to seats for children weighing up to 80 pounds during a free webinar on April 19 sponsored by child safety restraint manufacturer Dorel Juvenile Group and Safe Ride News.
NAPT is one of many groups nationwide spreading the word about April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It is reminding student transporters how preventing distracted driving is critical in pupil transportation.
Results from a recent NHTSA-conducted survey on driver distraction show that young adults are the least likely passengers to say something to a driver if the driver were texting or talking on a cell phone.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services initiated another request of states to participate in a one-day count of motorists that violate laws aimed to protect students in the school bus loading and unloading zone.
The Pupil Transportation Safety Board named Bill Paul, founder and editor emeritus of School Transportation News, to its board of directors, the Syracuse, N.Y., training company announced.
National Express Corporation (NEC) customer service centers in four regions across the United States and Canada won School Bus Maintenance Safety Awards from Blue Bird for reducing preventable street crashes and work-related injuries.
Safety, Claims and Litigation Services, LLC (SCLS), an affiliate of The National Interstate Insurance Company, will provide insured school bus contractors The School Bus Safety Company's Driver Training Course as part of its loss-control services package.
An international association for youth transportation safety recently reported that many European countries are confronting the same challenges in student transportation as their North American counterparts: budget cuts, rising fuel costs, reductions in service and overall safety.
Pennsylvania’s new law banning texting behind the wheel took effect today, but critics contend that a loophole undermines the goal of eliminating distracted driving.
Compared to other transportation workers, school bus drivers are more apt to get the most rest and could be safer as a result, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey on sleep habits.
North America Central/Illinois Central School Bus announced it began a new safety and attendance incentive program last month for all drivers, mechanics and monitors nationwide.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today announced that it will hold a one-day forum titled, "Attentive Driving: Countermeasures for Distraction," on March 27.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines on driver distraction to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices.
February is considered the peak of flu season. Though the current flu season has not generated breaking news about pandemics or new strains, influenza and whooping cough are still a concern for school districts and their transportation departments.
The latest research findings on driver electronic device use reports a significant increase between 2009 and 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced an FMCSA final rule that revises the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers. The rule goes into effect on July 1, 2013.
A petition to the White House was posted online prior to Christmas asking Congress to fund a proposed federal study to examine how the "work situation" of school bus drivers can distract them from the task at hand — namely, the safe operation of the vehicle.
School Transportation News obtained the latest figures on student fatalities reported by all 50 states in the 2010-2011 National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey, which reported a total of eight student deaths.
Robert L. Sumwalt was sworn in today for his second five-year term as a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Days before student transporters in the United States prepare their turkeys for Thanksgiving, dozens of parents in China's Gansu province are mourning the loss of their children and asking some serious questions.
While state lawmakers recognized the "School Bus Fire Safety Bill" at a Las Vegas elementary school this week, Diana Hollander, state director of pupil transportation, said she would not join in the celebration.
Those who like to text or talk on their cell phone while driving simply aren’t getting the message that they are endangering lives — so the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration continues to raise awareness about distracted driving.
Dr. Linda F. Bluth, the immediate past-president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, is endorsing the suite of training modules created by the School Bus Safety Company (SBSC).
This week, Houston Independent School District taught both school bus drivers and their young riders about the importance of preventing bullying aboard the school bus.
Government officials released today the results from a six-month study on curbside motorcoach safety that highlight key issues related to this fast-growing segment of the transportation industry. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez held a press conference in New York about the report.
Many important causes have a ribbon to raise awareness, and now school bus safety has one, too.
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.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) has posted safety information online to assist school bus drivers in avoiding potentially disastrous collisions with trains.
This fall, motorcoach customers will be able to download an app that allows access to a company's safety record before booking a trip, part of the National Motorcoach Safety Summit.
While not a school bus, the computer-animated locomotives from the Disney Channel show "Chuggington" are joining forces with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to teach children ages 2 to 7 how to be safe in and around cars.
Operation Lifesaver published a reminder on what school bus drivers should do when approaching railroad tracks in time for school startup and in preparation for National School Bus Safety Week the third full week of October.
NHTSA will continue to require that lap belts in all vehicles must be lockable without the use of special tools to tightly secure a child restraint system (CRS).
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro announced a federal grant of more than $2.3 million to improve compliance reviews and safety audits of commercial trucks and buses in North Dakota as well as to implement a new electronic CDL testing system.
The Ontario School Bus Association sent a template of a media release to its members so they can customize local messages on back-to-school and school-bus safety.
The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) released new back-to-school safety messages for students, parents and motorists regarding school buses.
If it takes a village to raise and protect a child, then school bus drivers are important members of that village. During Tuesday’s webinar, “School Bus Drivers: Ensuring Total Child Safety,” presenter Dr. Duane Dobbert discussed the nature and behavioral patterns of “stranger child predators” and outlined the school bus driver’s role in identifying youth who are victims of child abuse.
With summer temperatures still high across most of the nation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is focusing on the dangers of heat stroke for children left in vehicles, a warning school bus operators should heed especially as the new school year begins.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) announced 411 total deaths in its 2010 “Crash Facts” — the lowest number since 1944. Of the total 74,073 crashes in 2010, 611 involved school buses. This total represents a 9-percent decrease in school bus crashes from the prior year.
Private school bus contractor Student Transportation of America (STA) is offering safety tips to students, parents and motorists for riding and navigating the yellow bus during school start up.
ITASCA, IL - The National Safety Council (NSC) is partnering with First Student to share important back-to-school safety information.
Amid reports of at least a dozen child deaths, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) has approved a new federal safety rule that designates certain children's upper outerwear with neck or hood drawstrings as potential hazards when worn near school buses.
Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill designed to protect students from sexual misconduct by educators, and it tightens criminal background-check requirements for school bus drivers.
Theresa Mellen as named School Bus Driver of the Year last month by the South Dakota School Transportation Association (SDSTA) to honor her dedication to student safety in Douglas School District located in Box Elder.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is holding four regional round-table sessions over the next week to prepare for its national Motorcoach Safety Summit on Sept. 23.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation has just launched a redesigned website greets visitors with bright photos and a bold “Welcome to NYAPT” emblazoned over the reminder that, “In NYS, over 2.3 million children ride a yellow school bus each day.”
An official at the Department of Public Safety said agency employees would be returning to work on Thursday after Gov. Mark Dayton signed the state budget, ending a 20-day government shutdown.
Within one year, the industry can expect a rulemaking from NHTSA that requires audible alarms be installed on all electric and hybrid vehicles, including school buses.
The National School Transportation Association announced the winners of its annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition this past weekend, with one winner making a second appearance at the top of the list.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y – Transfinder announced that, with the passage of a new state law that relieves the mandate for "one seat for every eligible rider," its routing system is even more valuable to school districts in New York.
IC Bus and IMMI announced a new line of seating for school buses that offers customers the capability to retrofit from IC Bus base seats to SafeGuard belted seats or integrated child seats.
The results of a new survey released by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services confirms what many in the industry already know — far too many motorists nationwide illegally pass stopped school buses.
Ontario’s governing transportation agency recently sent out notices to school districts on the adoption of the National Safety Code Standard on periodic safety inspections of school buses.
In addition to pledging not to raise the federal gasoline tax, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) announced this week that the proposed, six-year $230 billion surface transportation bill would not fund the Safe Routes to School Program.
Enforceability has emerged as the anthem for a wave of new laws to protect students from school bus stop arm violators. And the common threads in those laws are the use of camera images of license plates as evidence in court, and holding the vehicle owner responsible for the fines.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announce up to $2,000 in grant funds for local communities to implement walk-ability and bike-ability checklists designed to help prepare a grant application fo fund Safe Routes to School programs administered through the Kansas Department of Transportation.
FMCSA is seeking public comment on a draft strategic plan that will serve as a five-year guide to reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large commercial trucks and interstate buses.
CINCINNATI — First Student recently presented its inaugural Presidential Awards of Excellence to the company’s top performing contract and regional managers. The company recognized the select group of managers who rated best-in-class in safety, customer service and overall performance categories.
Pedestrians continue to be at the most risk in collisions involving school buses, according to the latest Traffic Safety Facts released this spring by NHTSA.
While the feds and state governments have cracked down on non-conforming vans that have high rates of roll-over crashes, especially when these vehicles are used for school-related trips, new research breaks down the dynamics of these vehicles to illustrate how dangerous they can be.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its latest "Most Wanted List" of safety improvements, including a renewed request that the U.S. Department of Transportation increase safety of motorcoach passengers.
The National School Transportation Association announced that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will speak during next month's annual convention in Baltimore.
Overall winners of the 15th Annual School Transportation Association of Indiana’s School Bus Safety Competition are first-timers.
The phone rang about, or maybe a little before, 3 in the morning. When I answered it, a voice said, “This is not a drill! This is not a drill! This is not a drill! There has been a large earthquake in Japan, and we are on alert. You don’t have to report right now, but be prepared.” The voice was Carlena Horn, our school bus trainer, dispatcher and second in command at the Del Norte County Unified School District transportation compound.
A TSA representative presented an overview of the administration's Intermodal Security and Transportation Exercise Program (I-STEP) as a vital resource to help school districts and private bus companies develop table-top training to prevent criminal and terrorist attacks on and using school buses.
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed four bills this spring designed to make school bus transportation even safer, including increasing penalties for motorists who illegally pass school buses stopped to load and unload students and allowing school districts to install stop arm video cameras to capture offenders.
According to a joint statement from members of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, "great progress" has been made in the push to pass the reauthorization of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and NAPT previewed two new training modules designed for school bus drivers to respond to and curtail bullying to educational and student transportation professionals alike.
CINCINNATI — The New Hampshire School Transportation Association (NHSTA) recognized more than 100 First Student drivers from across the state for their safe driving records and exceptional performance as professional drivers.
New research comparing fatal crashes of all bus types nationwide found that, while there are statistically more deaths tied to school bus-related crashes, there are more of those vehicles on the road, and school bus drivers are the safest.
Massachusetts residents were hit by an unexpected tornado last week that left three people dead and sent student transporters scrambling to provide service to students who were displaced by the storm.
School bus drivers across New York will be honored this fall after the state senate passed a resolution last month for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to proclaim Oct. 21, 2011, as School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
Two bills introduced in the New York State legislature that would increase the ability of law enforcement to catch motorists who unlawfully pass school buses with activated red lights and stop arms at stops are receiving the full support of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation.
In the wake of a devastating tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo., over the weekend, student transporters are reminded of the need to keep their staff ready to respond to severe weather at a moment's notice.
Keeping in line with its stated commitment of constant communication with the industry, Transportation Security Administration representatives addressed members of the school community during a recent conference call on recent events, including the death of Osama bin Laden.
The Department of Homeland Security provided initial funding to perform a study that looks at the need for specialized training of school bus drivers on age-appropriate communication with children in the event they must be evacuated during a man-made or natural disaster.
State Director Joe Lightsey told STN that the state is "bouncing back" after the outbreak of tornadoes in late April, adding that the resiliency is indicative of the courage and strong will of the state's residents.
As a first for the STN EXPO, attendees will be given the opportunity to experience a mock school bus crash put on by Schools Prepare and Ready Together Across Nevada, or SPARTAN, a collaborative project that aims to keep schools prepared for emergency situations.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board released a short introductory video highlighting the issues that will be discussed during next week's public forum on bus and truck safety.
A leading TSA representative cautioned that the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals and special ops should not detract from federal and local programs that employ school bus drivers be on the look out for criminal and even suspicious activity.
The California State Assembly and the California Highway Patrol declared "School Bus Driver's Day" earlier this week for "continued and excellent service to the youth of the state."
The Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) announced it is seeking new topics for its 2011 program sponsored by FMCSA.
A student fatality near Toledo, Ohio, in January 2010 has resulted in pilot program that looks at the feasibility of using video cameras to catch in the act motorists who violate the state's law on illegally passing school buses.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that bullies and those bullied experience violent episodes at home in many instances.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation are partnering with the National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services on a webinar that will outline how to evacuate students with disabilities from a school bus.
Both the Washington state House and Senate recently passed legislation that not only requires a one-day count of illegal passers of school buses but that also allows school districts to equip stop arms with surveillance cameras.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the feds are issuing comprehensive guidance to help schools nationwide better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault.
The National Transportation Safety Board will offer a three-day training course in June that teaches advanced skills needed to assist families who are victims of a disaster.
"Nathan's Law" was passed last month by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Haley Barbour this week to overhaul school bus safety in the state, especially when the vehicles are stopped to load and unload student passengers. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2011.
Linda Morgan is being credited with saving the life of a first-grade student who stopped breathing on board a Lakeland Joint School District bus.
A crash on a rural Mississippi highway between a school bus and a tractor trailer results in the death of one student and injuries to at least 10 others.
Jodee Blanco, known as “The voice of America’s bullied students," will present a keynote address at the 37th Annual NAPT Summit in Cincinnati this fall.
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) were set to testify on Capitol Hill to push for passage of a bipartisan bill that would increase motorcoach safety and improve driver training.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced this week that it will hold a two-day symposium in May to review the progress of large truck and bus safety over the past decade.
Thanks to a letter sent to the local newspaper, the state senate passed legislation that expands the list of crimes that prohibits a person from becoming a school bus driver.
Safety Vision announced it was expanding in the law enforcement market after acquiring ICOP Digital Inc.
KANSAS CITY — The head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools announced to attendees of the Transporting Students with Disabilities & Preschoolers national conference in Kansas City that a training module will be available to school buses starting this summer on how to respond to bullying incidents.
A group of pupil transporters were advised to recognize cyber risk when it comes to bullying, sexting and personnel issues as the Transporting Students with Special Needs and Preschoolers National Conference and Exhibition began in Kansas City.
Yellow school buses in and around Cornwall, Ontario, took on a bit of a pink characteristic last month when drivers for Delaney Bus Lines wore pink T-shirts in support of a program that aims to reduce student bullying.
Portage Public Schools outside of Kalamazoo, Mich., honored 52 district bus drivers for a combined 397 years of safe driving.
Six students from the School District of Palm Beach County in South Florida received awards for contributing to an inaugural project aimed at curtailing under-age drinking with positive-message messages that are posted inside school buses.
In response to continued child fatalities around school bus stops, NAPT, the Public School Risk Institute, School Bus Safety Company and 247 Security Inc. are renewing a partnership to offer a comprehensive "Danger Zones" training program free of charge to school districts nationwide.
The National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services is soliciting surveys from all states that record how many drivers on the nation's roads illegally drive past stopped school buses that are engaged in the pick-up or drop-off of students.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that its Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) now offers additional data on co-driver safety and post-crash violations.
The National Safety Council and the American Society of Safety Engineers are promoting a child art contest that promotes the safety benefits of seat belts for drivers.
A school bus crash claimed the lives of two Choctaw County (Miss.) Schools teachers and sent some students to the hospital.
As the New York Association for Pupil Transportation eyes legislative changes that could ease the ability to convict motorists who illegally pass school buses engaged in loading and unloading, the Governors Traffic Safety Committee announced that law enforcement across the state will be out in force next month to write citations.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) released results from a study that found a 35 percent reduction in fatal red light running crashes in cities with photo-enforced intersections.
Legislation was introduced in both the Massachusetts House and Senate that would prohibit all motorists of any age, including school bus drivers, from using mobile phones while driving though school zones.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership said that the federal walk- and bike-to-school program could be the target of efforts by House leaders to reduce spending.
A new survey analyzing the distracted behaviors of transit drivers that could be of interest to school bus operators and school bus drivers as well.
A free, three-day conference in St. Louis this spring presented by the FTA aims to increase knowledge of drug and alcohol program regulations for commercial drivers.
A national survey of school bus loading and unloading operations for the 2009-2010 school year suggests that increased driver training may be necessary to halt a rising trend of front-end collisions with students on their way to or from the bus stop.
Preliminary results of a National Safety Council survey show that Fortune 500 companies are "heeding the public's growing call to eliminate cell phone use behind the wheel."
As industry professionals prepare to descend on Tampa Bay, Fla., this month for the UMA Motorcoach EXPO, certainly much discussion will take place on the latest congressional attempt to introduce seat belts and other safety improvements to prohibit passenger ejections.
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro is scheduled to speak to motorcoach professionals during this month's United Motorcoach Association Expo in Tampa, Fla., an event that will also invariably include much discussion on the current state of a proposed rule on enhanced motorcoach safety.
An estimated 275,000 students receive non-traffic-related tickets each year in Texas, and a new report indicates that many of these instances are tied to student misbehavior in class or on the school bus that should instead be dealt with at school rather than in the criminal court system.
A firm representing an inventor is seeking feedback from manufacturers and industry representatives on the feasibility of a concept that could effect school bus "danger zone" safety.
A spokesperson from the Kansas State Department of Education's School Bus Safety Education Unit confirmed that 13 students were killed during the 2009-2010 school year in the loading and unloading zone compared to 18 in 2008-2009.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would ban the use of all hand-held cell phones by commercial vehicle drivers and interstate bus drivers.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan distributed a memo to state leaders outlining key components of strong state bullying laws and policies that can be used to develop or revise anti-bullying legislation or policies.
The National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services applauded a letter sent earlier this month by FMCSA and NHTSA to motor vehicle registrars across the country that points out that these vehicles are inherently unsafe amid recent fatal crashes in Georgia and New York that involved 15-passenger vans.
CINCINNATI - One week prior to the start of winter, First Student reminded motorists, students and parents about safety on the road, especially around school buses.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officially launched its Compliance Safety Accountability program, or CSA 2010, that will analyze all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier's on-road performance.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded a public forum on child passenger safety in automobiles and in airplanes and announced the beginning of a year-long effort promote child passenger safety across all modes of transportation.
The Kansas Department of Labor joined state and local officials in presenting Collins Bus Corporation with Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program certification for operating an exemplary safety and health management system for its employees.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today published a proposed rule to improve rear visibility by drivers, including those who operate small school buses and school vans, by seeking to require the use of back-up cameras or other technology.
After a victory at the state level, a group of Concordia University students are taking their campaign to Congress to stress the need for a federal bill that will require parental notification of any instances of abuse while children are at school facility.
TV news personality Matt Lauer called it, "a moment of rage," or at least one of the year's most memorable as NBC News named James Jones one of its "People of the Year" after he created a national media sensation after boarding his daughter's school bus and threatening several students and the bus driver over alleged on-board bullying.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, commercial bus and truck drivers head the list for those most susceptible for drowsy driving or falling asleep behind the wheel.
The New Jersey legislature has taken another step forward in its battle against bullying in the wake of the suicide of an 18-year-old Rutgers student after his roommate outed him online.
For school districts and bus companies around the country, October 18-22 wasn’t just another five days of transporting students safely to and from school, it was National School Bus Safety Week.
In an effort to show the public the tragedies caused by distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation has created a web series that shows how these accidents affect the families of victims like school bus rider Margay Schee.
Despite James Oberstar being ousted from the U.S. House earlier this month, Safe Routes to School advocates were remaining confident that the program would remain intact as Congress must once again take up the long overdue federal transportation bill reauthorization.
A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that the number of sleepy drivers is higher than believed.
James Jones, the Seminole county father who confronted the students accused of bullying his daughter on the school bus and in doing so made national headlines, agreed to a deal that will end his criminal case.
While a final crash report is not expected until at least next year, an official from the National Transportation Safety Board told members of the National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services in Portland last week that it was inexplicable why a school bus activity trip driver failed to react to slowing traffic in a construction zone on Instate 44 in Missouri just prior to a fatal four-vehicle pile-up in August.
Transport Canada is studying the safety of 15 passenger vans in the wake of the Bathurst, New Brunswick van crash two years ago, and a private members bill introduced in New Brunswick calling for a nationwide ban on the use of these vehicles for school trips, reports the Ontario School Bus Association.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Student and its client Duval County Schools celebrated school "buzz" safety week with the help of Busbee the safety bee, who teamed with Olliy the clown to teach elementary school students about school bus safety.
As the NTSB was set to give an update on the phenomena of brake pedal misapplication in heavy vehicles that have caused several high-profile crashes over the last several years, NASDPTS said it supports and has followed up on a resulting safety recommendation.
One hundred citations costing $250 each were given to motorists last week caught in the act of running school bus stop arms and red lights by law enforcement professionals.
Three North Carolina elementary school students and one middle school student received top honors in North Carolina's 2010 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest, "Be Aware - Know the Danger Zone!"
New data from a survey of over half a million students reveals that 17 percent are bullied two to three times a month or more within the school semester.
Employers failing to communicate hazardous chemicals in the work place once again was found by OSHA to be the leading safety citation in the general industry category, according to OSHA's Top 10 most frequently cited standards for 2010 that mirrored those released last year.
Pinellas County Schools decided the yellow bus' annual week of celebration was the best time to debut its new Safety Bus, which was designed to educate elementary students about bus safety.
This year school districts and state officials around the country are trying to highlight all the benefits of the yellow bus.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services stands behind a NHTSA proposed rule to require three-point seat belts on all new motorcoaches and for all motorcoach and school bus drivers but voiced concern over a new federal motorcoach definition that could exclude shuttle buses.
The TSA's Highway and Motor Carrier Division announced that it will be developing five new regional exercises on school transportation security to be held over the next year.
A representative from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center said pupil transporters are presented with a host of challenges including high costs and increased liability when attempting to tackle the problem of student bullying and harassment on board school buses.
School bus OEM reveals the winners of its fifth annual Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest.
CINCINNATI -- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are 13 times safer than passenger cars and nearly 10 times safer than walking or biking to school. Unfortunately, cell phones, texting devices and mp3 players can distract students, presenting a risk as they walk to and board the school bus. First Student, the nation's leader in student transportation, joins the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to recognize School Bus Safety Week, October 18-22, by reminding both students and motorists to eliminate distractions, be alert around school buses and remain in view of the school bus driver.
The National School Transportation Association recently took issue with some of the statements made by the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO that school bus safety continues to suffer from "glaring problems."
Despite an unparalleled safety record, school buses can and should be even safer, and that begins with the driver. Two safety consultants gave specific recommendations on how this can happen during a webcast hosted by School Transportation News.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased by 9.2 percent in 2009 from 2008, according to preliminary figures released by the National Transportation Safety Board. And school buses continued to get even safer.
CINCINNATI — The National Safety Council elected First Student President Linda Burtwistle to its board of directors during NSC’s 2010 Congress & Expo this week in San Diego. She will serve a two-year term.
School Transportation News hosted the first of a two-part webcast that discusses how school district and bus company operations can better ensure proper driver behavior to result in the absolute safest possible ride to and from school for bus riders.
MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, marked its 30th birthday this week by unveiling a new action plan that calls on Congress to pass legislation to eliminate drunk driving in America through technology.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new CSA 2010 safety initiative does not target public school district bus drivers, a new fact sheet released this month contains "Just the Facts" to paint a clearer picture of requirements and points of emphasis.
On the same day that students across the Empire State stepped onto school buses for the first trip of the 2010-2011 school year, administrators were given more ammunition in their battle against bullying both on the bus and in the classroom.
The school bus industry will be sought as a partner for a Safe Routes to School national conference scheduled for next summer, according to the program contractor for the federal government.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced it will address the safety of children traveling in airplanes or in cars when it holds a public forum on child passenger safety in December.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for a move away from the family car and towards greener alternatives when getting students to school, including the yellow school bus
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a one-strike, life without parole sentencing option for the most dangerous sex offenders, including those who target children.
School bus drivers in California and Hawaii have the most potholes with 25 percent of interstate pavement in poor condition. Alaska and Rhode Island have the bumpiest rural pavement, and Rhode Island has the nation's worst bridges. Those are some of the results of the 19th Annual Highway Report released by the Reason Foundation.
State budget cuts have trickled down to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s transportation department, and students will be feeling the pinch when school doors open this month as more school bus routes will be eliminated.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Ann Ferro joined state and local officials at a commercial bus checkpoint to observe the safety inspection of motorcoaches, tour buses and other commercial passenger vehicles.
As school begins, the Texas Highway Patrol released a statement that school districts can instantly verify records of their school bus drivers online. And a new law is around the corner that highlights prior traffic violations that can preclude a person from driving a school bus in the state.
Atlantic Express announced this week that it anticipates a new partnership with driver safety and efficiency company will result in "significant" cost savings for school districts customers.
After a mandate from a bill recently signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick, the Massachusetts Department of Education has created and distributed a “blueprint” for districts to help them develop some type of plan to deter student bullying in and arounds schools, including on the school bus.
The engineering firm that evaluated the I-35W bridge before it collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007, killing 13 and injuring 145, agreed to pay $52.4 million to more than 130 plaintiffs.
At its recent summer meeting, the South Dakota School Transportation Association (SDSTA) presented Patty Lutz its 2010 South Dakota School Bus Driver of the Year Award.
Almost a week after a tragic multi-car collision that took the life of a 15-year-old student, the Missouri State Highway Patrol releases its preliminary findings online.
It should not come as a surprise to most that a fatal crash last week in eastern Missouri involving two school buses has resulted in murmurs across the state that seat belts are long overdue, despite the fact that seat belts likely wouldn't have made a difference. But, as is said over and over, perception is reality.
The National Transportation Safety Board was on its way to Gray Summit, Mo., to investigate a crash in a highway construction zone involving two activity school buses, a bobtail tractor and another vehicle that killed a teenage girl and injured at least 50 others, many of them fellow bandmates of the deceased.
Larry Hannon won his seventh School Bus Driver International Safety Competition trophy at 40th annual event sponsored by the National School Transportation Association.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals this week denied an appeal by Olga Marina Franco, a 26-year-old undocumented woman from Guatamala who was convicted on 24 counts including vehicular manslaughter, criminal vehicular operation, lying to police, and perjury for running a stop sign and plowing into the side of a school bus.
Gov. David Patterson's recently vetoed the state budget, which includes a cut in funding for the New York School Bus Driver Safety Training Program. But Marion Edick of the New York State Department of Education said school districts should not freak out just yet.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety published its 2009 results from statewide vehicle crashes show that there were 670 incidents involving school buses with four people killed, including one child crossing the bus, and 233 injured as a result. The leading cause? Driver distraction.
Named after a 5-year-old boy who choked to death in 2008, proposed legislation would require all school bus drivers in the state to take CPR training.
The Senate confirmed John S. Pistole as the new head of the nation's agency that is also charged with protecting transportation systems including school buses.
The National Transportation Safety Board called on NHTSA to implement rulemaking that would require a host of safety improvements for newly-manufactured buses and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
While a number of states around the country are passing anti-texting legislation for school bus and passenger car drivers alike, Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Seward Square Group is aiding in an attempt to sway federal legislators while they review legislation concerning the distracted driver debate.
Massachusetts is one of 19 states nationwide to enact laws forbidding school bus drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel. Soon, all other motorists may face a similar requirement, at least when it comes to texting.
Bus operators were reminded of the deadly consequences of being distracted while behind the wheel after the National Transportation Safety Board released findings from its investigation into a tour bus crash last year near Dolan, Ariz.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced it will hold a public Board meeting on June 22 to discuss its investigation into a multiple-fatality, single-vehicle tour bus accident that occurred last year near Dolan Springs, Ariz.
House Bill 6233, introduced earlier this month, would strengthen convictions for motorists who injure or kill a person as a result of violating the “school bus zone.”
The state legislator passed House Bill 1170, which bans school bus drivers from driving commercially for up to 10 years if they are arrested for driving under the influence while operating any vehicle or refuse to take chemical tests when stopped by law enforcement. At this writing, the bill was awaiting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell recently signed a bill into law that will increase penalties for falsifying school bus safety records or transporting students on out-of-service buses.
A combination of thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped their way through Ohio and Michigan on Sunday, killing at least seven people and destroying homes, schools and everything else in their way.
INDIANAPOLIS – Charlie Vits, the market development manager at IMMI/Safeguard, was one of six recipients earlier this month of an award from Safe Kids Indiana for advocating child passenger safety.
More than 60,000 school buses nationwide are being outfitted with state-of-the-art RFID inspection systems, GPS tracking and Web-based fleet operations and management applications to improve student safety. That was the announcement today from the largest school bus operator in North America and its technology provider.
The free “Danger Zones” training DVDs offered by School Bus Safety Company in partnership with NAPT, 247 Security and the Public School Risk Institute are flying off of the shelves, according to Jeff Cassell.
The feds have cracked down on motorcoach safety over the last year, but National Transportation Safety Board Chair Deborah Hersman testified before Congress today that more must be done to ensure the vehicles and drivers are as safe as can be.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services voiced displeasure with a recent Parade Magazine article that calls into question how safe school buses really are when many are not equipped with seat belts.
In light of a spike in student deaths in the school bus loading and unloading zone last school year, districts nationwide can obtain a free copy of a safety program that is endorsed by the National Association for Pupil Transportation.
School bus drivers who use hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles with children on board — or without — face steeper civil or criminal penalties if caught by police. And that's not to mention what could happen to their job for the school district.
NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System is estimating an almost 9 percent decrease in fatalities during 2009, which will hopefully be mirrored in school-bus-specific data that will be extrapolated later this year.
WASHINGTON – Major Gen. Robert A. Harding's nomination as President Obama's choice as the next leader of the Transportation Security Administration has been delivered to the Senate.
The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey for the 2008-2009 school year shows an upswing in the number of deaths in the danger zone despite removing one student fatality.
A recent STN survey indicates that any federal or state bans on cell phone voice or text conversations should make special provisions for school bus drivers who might need to rely on mobile communication devices to perform their basic job duties.
A recently released report evaluating 10 low-income programs nationwide gave lessons learned that could help other programs get off the ground.
Massachusetts school bus drivers may soon become part of a growing trend of drivers who are banned from texting while driving their vehicle.
ARLINGTON, VA — A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute indicates that bans on drivers using cell phones when behind the wheel do little to reduce crashes.
An amendment to a bill prohibiting texting by all motorists would extend to school bus drivers, and it would treat radio systems like cell phones.
A state senator announced yesterday that he plans to introduce legislation aimed at stopping incidences of students left unattended on their school buses and school bus drivers operating the yellow vehicles while intoxicated.
Any person found by police to possess or be under the influence of alcohol while operating a school bus could be charged with a Class I misdemeanor under a bill proposed last month.
Media reports confirmed that Ontario Provincial Police and local police are charging a local Air Force base commander with first-degree murder in the death of Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd, a transportation planner for the Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, who went missing in late January.
Newly released data from the National Safety Council estimates that approximately 28 percent of crashes each year are caused by drivers distracted by cell phone calls and texting.
The year started out bumpy for school districts in and around Oakland County, Michigan. As the news spread about school bus vandalism in Waterford Township, teenage vandals in five neighboring cities duplicated the crime — letting air out of hundreds of tires that grounded entire fleets and cancelled school.
Although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has put its final touches on the national public school bus fleet vulnerability threat assessment, it will be a several weeks before Congress and the school bus industry gets its hands on it. As part of the Implementing the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the TSA has 60 days from when the report was completed until it actually must be submitted to Congress.
Illegal passing of school buses has emerged as one of the major problems in school bus safety. Both Dateline/NBC and CNN’s Evening News Show examined the subject earlier this year in national broadcasts. Indeed, recent years have seen numerous studies and state-wide efforts to chronicle the number of pass bys, with commensurate efforts at enforcing laws that prohibits the practice.
In conjunction with Contra Costa County and the cities of Danville and San Ramon, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in California is working to formulate a traffic congestion relief program around its school zone. Among the mitigation measures to be implemented is an expanded school bus transportation system designed to ultimately cut down on the number of cars on local roadways. The initiative, which is funded by Measure J – a 25-year extension of a half-cent sales tax, will have additional school buses in operation in 2009, said Tai Williams, transportation services manager for Danville. The scope of the program and how many students it will serve is still in development.
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When a tornado is forming, there is little time to make life and death decisions. Finding oneself in the path of a tornado is one of the worst situations a school bus driver could face. The best defense for employees is to become a weather watcher. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service provides an up- to-date resource for weather-related conditions:
ALBANY, N.Y. — The National Association of Pupil Transportation re-posted an alert from the Transportation Security Administration and FBI that there have apparently been several bogus attempts made throughout the northeast region of the United States to purchase used school buses.
Gloria Buley first sketched her idea for a stop arm safety mirror while sitting in a 1999 New York State 40-hour safety course. Now, after seven years of pouring her time, energy and money into her invention, the 42-year-old mother of two teenage boys is closer to seeing her idea become a reality.
I am dismayed by how often I hear school bus trainers and supervisors advising their drivers to “keep up with the flow of traffic.”
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Emergency situations can come in many forms: a tornado tearing a path through the middle of town, a gun-wielding criminal who sees the yellow bus and decides to use it as a getaway car, or an overturned school bus filled with children who have no idea what to do to get to safety.
The name Don L. Rondeau might not ring an immediate bell in the school bus community. But it resonates in most security and anti-terrorism circles, and he’s making a conscious effort to embrace the yellow bus. In his own words, “The nation’s most critical assets are our children.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — By an overwhelming majority, the U.S. House of Representatives passed in July a resolution recognizing School Bus Safety Week. The measure was introduced last fall by Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN). All three major school bus associations — NAPT, NSTA and NASDPTS — supported the proposal and over the past several months urged their members to send letters of support to their individual congressmen.
What Were You Doing During School Bus Safety Week?
School Bus Safety Week was Oct. 21-27. The following is a look at a few of the happenings around the country.
School transportation professionals can’t see every incident on the horizon. But they can certainly arm themselves for uncertainty and stand prepared to deal with whatever comes their way.
The following tips are from the non-profit National Limousine Association:
Ask your friends or family for a referral. The starting point for all personal services should be recommendations from friends or family. If they received courteous service from a polite chauffeur in a clean attractive vehicle then by all means, call for a reservation today!
How school districts can protect their students from solicitation and abduction to and from school
Numbers can be helpful and frightening all at once. Six hundred and three thousand. That figure represents the number of sexual offenders registered in the U.S. One hundred thousand. That number represents convicted offenders who are not registered; some of them are literally missing.
School bus practical jokes have become a costly and sometimes dangerous problem for districts
Who hasn’t pulled a prank at some point in life? Whether it be a phoney phone call about Prince Albert being trapped in a can or throwing some eggs on a Halloween night 20 years ago, mischief and adolescence go hand in hand. Figures of authority — from principals to teachers to school bus drivers — have all had some type of practical joke played on them. But for the victims of some of these jokes, the resulting damage, whether it be to the vehicle or the individual, is not always something they can laugh off.
Poway Unified School District Helps Locals Evacuate During Recent California Wildfires
POWAY, Calif. — Over 800 elderly and hospitalized residents of the San Diego County town were transported to shelters via the yellow school bus during the California wildfires this past October.
A first-of-its-kind probability sample study on specific injuries sustained in school bus accidents nationwide recommends lap/shoulder belt occupant restraint systems be installed in all newly purchased school buses, though their efficacy for all crashes remains in doubt.
The well-being of riders inside the school bus is directly connected to the effectiveness of the features on the outside of the bus. With that in mind, school transportation officials and manufacturers put specific focus on the characteristics that define the safety of a school bus, meaning mirrors, decals and reflective applique, and LEDs.
Ever since the passing of Florida’s Jessica Lunsford Act in 2005 and the Federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2006, states have been working to update their sex offender databases, track parolees with GPS ankle bracelets and inform the public of the whereabouts of offenders in their communities. But, like the implementation of any new program, the process is more easily said than done and can lead to more questions.
WASHINGTON , D.C. - The acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board testified before a House Transportation and Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Railroads that school bus accidents and fatalities will continue to occur at passive grade crossings as long as audible train warning systems remain inadequate.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board met on Sept. 6 to review its “Most Wanted Safety List,” which includes the safety of school bus travel at railroad grade crossings through its “Look, Listen and Live” campaign, and found there is still plenty of work to do.
SANTA FE, N.M. — Parents may rest easier knowing that innovative vehicle tracking technology is protecting their children when they ride the school bus thanks to a proposal by Gov. Bill Richardson for a $2.6 million investment to install GPS in the state’s entire fleet.
Schools will soon be required to follow a chain of communication that could help keep order during emergencies
Across the country, districts are preparing for the start of a new school year. They have to be prepared for new students and employees, new bus routes and even the unexpected. As part of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD), the Department of Homeland Security created the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a system that allows responders from different agencies to work in a collaborative effort when responding to emergencies, which could include natural disasters or acts of terrorism. Schools are now becoming more informed and interwoven into their community’s emergency response teams as a result.
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Train vs. school bus. At least dozen presumed dead. Scores more seriously injured. Multiple fire companies en route. Such is a synopsis of an emergency call from the scene of a catastrophic collision outside of Kansas City. Fortunately it was all an act.
Bill calls for seat belts, new standards for window glazing and roof strength
Following in an oddly parallel step with school buses, the motorcoach industry is currently debating the strengths and weaknesses of a recently introduced piece of legislation that calls for seat belts, rollover and interior fire protection, and updating policies concerning window glazing.
About a month after determining that lack of sleep and high speeds were the main causes of the Mexican Hat, Utah, motorcoach crash on Jan. 6, 2008 that killed nine passengers and injured 43 others, the National Transportation Safety Board issued safety recommendation letters to all the parties either directly or indirectly involved in the crash. The letters addressed numerous points that all led to one main conclusion: preparation equals prevention.
Aug. 1 began for 52 summer camp students with the anticipation of a day spent swimming with friends.
Webster's New Word College Directory announced this week that distracted driving wasits choice for word of the year in 2009.
A year-long School Transportation News study of national and local newspaper headlines found 21 incidents where school bus riders were killed outside the school bus, 14 more than the seven reported in the 2006-2007 National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey.
WACO, Texas — Last fall, after Hurricane Katrina blasted New Orleans and the Alabama Gulf Coast, Texas played a huge part by sending hundreds of school buses to aid in evacuation efforts.
Your staff has been complaining about the arrival of “Big Brother.” Your announcement about the GPS on the buses this year was not met with technological enthusiasm.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that a school bus driver caused a rollover crash in May 2008 after she veered into the far left lane and struck an SUV.
Update: Right before the start of the new year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that responded to a petition from the School Bus Manufacturers’ Technical Council concerning school bus emergency exits.
The Federal Highway Administration has released an updated national traffic safety manual that urges school districts to develop route plans that develop uniformity in the use of traffic controls that are understood by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.
While the final national report has yet to be released, School Transportation News has learned that student fatalities occurring around the school bus while loading or unloading nearly tripled during the 2008-2009 school year from the previous year's study.
Drive no further than your local elementary school to be flashed with the latest in safety lighting: LEDs.
The technology has been around for more than 100 years, and today it can be seen in everything from building displays to televisions. And more and more school districts across the United States and Canada are turning to LEDs to light the way for children and motorists alike to navigate busy school zones. They flash on stop signs and speed limit markers, and they even automatically detect the presence of pedestrians and light up crosswalks.
LOS ANGELES — In the 30 years that Clarence Hutchison has been the transportation services manager for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), he cannot remember when they have not held annual awards to honor their safest drivers. “We used to belong to the National Safety Council, but that became too expensive to maintain. So we continued on our own, keeping the basic premise of preventable and non-preventable accidents,” said Hutchison.
In the two years since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, efforts to rebuild have been aided by a combination of community strength and strong leadership. School districts in these affected areas have pulled together to rejuvenate their buildings, programs and morale.
On July 27, 1981, John Walsh lost an irreplaceable part of himself — his son Adam. A little more than two weeks after Adam was abducted, Walsh learned his son had been murdered. During this life-changing experience, Walsh discovered a sorry truth about the world we live in and a name for those responsible for some of the most gruesome crimes that can be committed against the youngest members of our society — pedophiles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it is now enforcing stricter safety rules for all bus companies seeking to obtain federal registration for carrying passengers across state lines.
While state and federal programs continue to advocate students walking and biking to school to achieve physical fitness and mitigate traffic congestion and resulting pollution, the children who utilize these modes of transportation are open to significantly more injuries and fatalities than if they rode the school bus.
WASHINGTON , D.C. — As districts find themselves in summer training season, the future of the popular school bus driver terrorism-preparedness program School Bus Watch remains unknown.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new federal law implementing recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission is resulting in something those in the school bus sector know all too well: an unfunded mandate.
STN EXPO Keynote Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré calls it like he sees it regarding the role of school buses in local, national emergency preparedness.
They say you have to spend money to make money. But, sometimes, you have to spend money to save money. For school districts and contractors this can be a lot easier said than done. But in a time of quickly rising fuel prices and mounting fears concerning school bus vulnerability, many are finding ways to keep their buses and students accounted for and their fuel-related costs at as much of a minimum as possible.
The North Florida Child Abduction Response Team (CART) held a full-scale exercise in October that could earn it the first national certification of any CART team in the country. More than 100 participants and observers from local, state and federal partner agencies came together for the exercise while a certification team from Fox Valley Technical College conducted an assessment of the team’s performance.
TAMPA, Fla. — A week before school let out for the summer, officials at a Florida school district found themselves re-evaluating security measures after two men boarded a bus full of students on its way to Wharton High School.
NEW YORK — More than 700 federal, state, international and local law enforcement, intelligence, and private sector professionals convened during a July terrorism and transportation conference to address means of thwarting terrorist attacks.
School transportation is safe, but surveys don’t tell the whole story.
Moments after unloading, a 13-year-old girl is playing near the back of her school bus when she falls and is fatally run over by the rear tires. An 11-year-old girl is struck and killed by a passing vehicle as she tries to cross the road to wait at her bus stop. Four students die when their bus plunges off an Alabama highway overpass.
To Fairfax County Public Schools transportation director Linda Farbry, loading and unloading children poses serious safety issues. That’s why she is hoping that the Virginia Board of Education will allow her school district to experiment with placing additional warning lights on the sides of its school buses.
In New Orleans and beyond, school buses are at the center of hurricane evacuations again, this time as heroes.
They hadn’t planned on using them, but the motorcoaches the city of New Orleans had counted on weren’t coming in fast enough and Hurricane Gustav was barreling towards the coast. So, it was yellow school buses to the rescue.
After months of phone calls, e-mails, explanations, documentation and discussion, the great E-rate debate has come to an end, for now. To some companies’ joy and others’ despair, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) recently answered a question during a training session in New Orleans that many have argued for and against.
MARSHALL, Mich. — In a moment, the nervous driver behind the wheel will depress the accelerator and head down a narrow course of orange cones. The lane will dead-end in 60 feet, and the instructor will tell her to swerve right or left. Behind her, four drivers pay attention to every detail, hoping to learn something before it’s their turn.This two-day course at the Eaton Proving Grounds is her chance to conquer the potentially deadly hazards that could paralyze a driver on the safety of a professional driving course with 14 expert instructors.
During the 2007 STN EXPO, attendees were introduced to a speaker who carried almost four decades of experience in the criminal justice profession along with a friendly and disarming demeanor. After being introduced at one of the morning sessions, he quickly delved into his area of expertise — child abductions and the predators behind these heinous crimes, which have ended in the deaths of many innocent children and teens.
In February, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced federal grant programs totaling more than $3 billion. Approximately half of the money — $1.7 billion — is divided into four categories, with the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) closely splitting almost 97 percent of the total grants.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined ruled that a January 2008 fatal crash of a motorcoach near Victoria, Texas, was caused by the driver's loss of control of the vehicle after he fell asleep at the wheel, and NTSB called on the Department of Transportation to provide better oversight of passenger motor carriers.
For Mike Martin, like many of those involved in bringing the Challenge Day anti-bullying program to the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this month, the war on bullying has personal stakes. Martin knew bullying was one of the core problems facing the industry from the time he became involved with NAPT in the early 1990s. Still, despite being NAPT’s executive director, he didn’t let anyone know until recently that he was bullied as a child.
From the first moment a child is missing, there is the immediate fear that they will never be found. That fear is rooted in data from a study performed by the U.S. Department of Justice — 74 percent of all children who are abducted and later found murdered were killed within the first three hours of the kidnapping. For that reason and many others, Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) are used to mobilize state-wide efforts to quickly and successfully locate missing children.
It was a moment that changed the lives of not only those on board the bus, but their loved ones waiting at home. Within seconds of Larry Mahoney’s Toyota pickup smashing into a school bus full of children returning from a church trip to a local amusement park, the gas tank ruptured and fire and black smoke engulfed the bus. When it was over, a total of 27 of the 67 passengers were dead, marking the Carrollton, Ky., school bus crash as the most deadly drunk driving crash in U.S. history.