The owners of the Gardian Angel school bus pedestrian lighting system are celebrating Flag Day in a special way on Tuesday.
Company founder Steve Gardner and son Andrew recently received a U.S. flag that flew over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in honor of their system that has been approved for use on school buses in 25 states.
The elder Gardner, a former school bus mechanic for an Ohio school district, developed the pedestrian lighting system in 2010, after watching a local news story about a teenager who was struck and killed by a motorist illegally passing a stopped school bus.
The LED system installed on the front hood of school buses and wired with the existing eight-way flashing light system illuminates a path 10 feet in front of the bus and across lanes of traffic. It is designed to assist other motorists and school bus drivers to better see student pedestrians who are crossing. The invention was featured by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2020.
Steve Gardner relayed to School Transportation News that Andrew, Gardian Angel’s director of marketing, contacted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in April to participate in the Capitol Flag Program, which began in 1937 when an unknown member of Congress asked for a flag to be flown over the Capitol. The program has since evolved to commemorate national holidays and special events, honor the work of schools and civic organizations and allow private citizens to request flags for purchase.
Andrew Gardner asked Pelosi’s office to fly the flag to commemorate the company’s public safety efforts and the inclusion of enhanced school bus lighting in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed last fall by President Joe Biden. The law includes the review of school bus safety technologies designed to address illegal passing incidents.
The Gardners received their 5-by-8-foot flag with sewn stripes and embroidered stars with two brass grommets the week of May 23 along with a certificate of authenticity and care instructions.
Additionally, Steve Gardner noted that the National Transportation Safety Board used the Gardian Angel system to gather evidence from the fatal 2018 Rochester, Indiana school bus crossing deaths of three students and the serious injury of a fourth. NTSB’s final recommendations from that investigation included the Gardian Angel as an example of a proactive school bus safety lighting system, Gardner added.
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