TOLEDO, Ohio/ SALT LAKE CITY/ HELENA, Mont. — With two more state approvals (Utah and Montana) this past week founder Steve Gardner and his son Andrew Gardner are celebrating a huge milestone success with half of the U.S. now permitting the patented Gardian Angel school bus pedestrian safety lighting system from Gardian Angel, LLC.
The father-son team has worked tirelessly over the last 11 years from a simple sketch to a proven concept proving their bus parts and accumulating credibility among leading transportation officials and committees across the U.S. The positive effect of proactively combating stop-arm violations by the Gardian Angel has already been tested, proven and documented by school transportation industry leaders nationwide.
The Utah State Board Of Education (USBE) announced April 12 Gardian Angel, LLC’s patented Gardian Angel school bus pedestrian safety lighting system is now legal and available to purchase state-wide. Utah is now the 24th state to allow the use of this innovative technology to keep young pedestrians safer as they load and unload the school bus.
“After seven years of trying to work with the state of Utah, we are absolutely thrilled to work with Ron Litchfield, state transportation specialist, and his team who takes Utah’s leadership role seriously when considering both Utah and national safety standards,” said Steve Gardner.
On April 19, Montana Gov Greg Gianforte signed a new law improving school bus safety. This legislation authorized the use of additional school bus lighting on Montana school buses. This law includes technology offered by the Toledo, Ohio company Gardian Angel, LLC. Montana is now the 25th state to allow the use of Gardian Angel school bus lighting system kits. The new law paves the way for improved student safety as children load or unload the school bus on Montana roads.
“After seven years of trying to work with the state, Montana has LIGHTened (pun intended) up to what we have been offering the state director along with Montana Superintendent’s Office of Public Instruction (OPI) for years now,” Gardner said.
Rep. Neil Duram, a Republican from Eureka, sponsored Montana HB 207. Two separate school bus crashes over the last couple of years fueled support for the bill. HB 207 unanimously passed both the Montana House (97-0) and Senate ( 50-0), and is now signed and enacted as law per Montana’s governor.
Two other school bus safety bills are going through the legislative process in Montana, but are currently being hung up. HB 267 would require the use of extended stop-arms as well as larger fines for violations relating to passing a stopped school bus, along with prohibiting drivers from passing a stopped bus on the right. Montana’s school bus camera bill, HB 350, would allow for school districts to install cameras to record violations.
It was noticed in the hearings for this issue, that Montana does not permit the use of red-light traffic cameras, which coincide with this proposed bill. HB 267 and MT HB 350 are currently tabled in Committee on the Senate Highways and Transportation as they met opposition, contrary to the school bus lighting bill HB 207 that unanimously passed and became law in just a short time frame. With strong support from Kalispell parents, family, and friends, Gardian Angel, LLC partnered with Jordana’s Alliance for Bus Safety in order to improve school bus safety laws for both the State of Montana’s children and drivers.
“Students need to be seen, not hit. Montana needs us, and we’re here to help,” Andrew Gardner, the company’s director of marketing expressed. “It’s been a pleasure to work with such strong safety advocates in the industry. We are thrilled to be helping Big Sky Country become brighter.”
This innovation from Toledo, Ohio, has made history, not just in the school bus industry, but at a national museum. The story of the Gardian Angel company and its lighting system is showcased in a digital time capsule at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Andrew’s Achievements tells the story of how the Gardian Angel school bus lighting system was created and the endeavors getting state approvals, the growth of the company, and the lighting system as a solution to prevent the nationwide issue of illegal school bus passing.
Gardian Angel is an exterior lighting system that easily attaches to a school bus that delivers the most advanced technologies to combat stop-arm violations, and minimizes the public safety risks to student riders. This approved option also raises the bar for the current state construction standards and exceeds the current federal standards. The equipment helps reduce the rates of illegally passing incidents, helps drivers see better in the dark, decreases the unloading and loading zone injuries or fatalities, and helps prevent collisions and school bus accidents.
Because each state has different rules and regulations as to optional school bus lighting technology, Gardian Angel, LLC offers a variety of kits to meet your bus stop needs. They have also expanded their product line to include LED lights that shine out both sides of the front of the bus.
With the Gardian Angel, drivers can clearly see the students in darkness. The pedestrians have a lit path walking towards the bus. Traffic in front of the bus and behind it can clearly see pedestrians walking towards the school bus in darkness. This is all possible because of the 1,000-lumen white LED flood light that shines out the side of the front of the bus. The unit is aimed at the ground and automatically turns on when the red lights are activated, then turns off when the bus entrance door is closed.
Gardian Angel, LLC reminds customers to check with state requirements for specific mounting locations, since they may vary. School districts in 25 states can purchase the Gardian Angel lighting system for their bus fleets.
The Gardian Angel school bus lighting system is now currently available as optional equipment to school buses in the following 25 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.