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As School Reopening Progresses, Safety Is Priority Curriculum

In recent weeks, we’ve seen a national rise in schools returning to in-person learning with more re-openings expected in the near future. Safety has always been top-of-mind for school districts, but it will likely be looked at even more closely during the ongoing and much-anticipated return to in-person learning.

The following are three key areas for decision-makers to focus on pertaining to school bus safety:

  1. Limit Driver Distraction
  2. Smooth Out Drivability
  3. Ensure Reliability

Limiting Driver Distraction

School bus drivers have enough to be distracted by without annoyances due to the equipment they’re operating. Fault codes can be a problematic distraction for drivers during operation. The basic presence of a fault can be distracting by itself but that’s only exacerbated if the driver is trying to decipher what the fault is and how critical it might be while operating their route.

The best way to mitigate this distraction is to avoid them in the first place. A preventative maintenance plan is important but use of telematics and real-time diagnostic tools can help fleet managers get ahead of problems before they happen in the first place, allowing your drivers to focus on safely delivering passengers to school.

Cummins provides a range of offerings as part of their Connected Solutions™ suite. Connected Diagnostics™, which is one of the technologies in the Connected Solutions portfolio, allows for real-time diagnosis that can be instantly provided to the driver and dispatcher informing them of the recommended action.

Smooth Operation Isn’t Only About Driver Satisfaction

Ease of operation doesn’t only mean happy drivers, it can also mean reduced safety risks for passengers, pedestrians and fellow motorists. System integration between the engine, transmission and all related components is key to smooth operation.

This is why Cummins has always been extremely proactive about collaborating with key partner manufacturers in order to ensure seamless integration between systems. Modern integrated powertrains also offer a range of advanced driver-friendly electronic features that can make negotiating grades and curves safer while also being easier on your drivers. While the wide range of features available today offer tremendous benefits ranging from drivability to efficiency, choosing the right combination for your operation can be a challenge.

That’s where Cummins PowerSpec comes in as a useful tool for specifying the right combination of equipment and features for your operation.

Torque is often talked about in reference to the performance capabilities of an engine but access to torque at low engine speeds is another factor relating to smooth operation and safety. Clutch engagement torque is important for school buses because it is a key ingredient in startability, or the ease of drivers getting a bus moving while exercising minimal throttle input. This can be important for low-speed maneuvering that buses may need while making stops or while pulling through a school parking lot.

Cummins L9™ diesel engine for school buses offers 500 lb-ft of clutch engagement torque, while the B6.7™ boasts 400 lb-ft.

Ensure That You Can Rely On Your Buses Staying On The Road

With all of the planning that goes into mapping out school bus routes to ensure that buses don’t have to make unsafe stops, it should go without saying that unplanned stops due to unreliable equipment are far from ideal.

With more than 30 years of experience in the school bus industry, Cummins has been perfecting the reliability of their power solutions for school buses for a long time. While starting out with reliable equipment you can depend on is paramount, it’s also important to make sure that your equipment is properly serviced and maintained. This means being proactive but also effectively troubleshooting issues when they do arise.

The Cummins Guidanz™ mobile app with INLINE™ mini adapter can expedite this process while also helping to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Using high-quality replacement parts will keep your equipment running reliably for years to come. Non-genuine parts may seem like a cost-effective solution for replacing a worn-out part but inferior parts that aren’t built to exacting specifications can lead to reliability issues not only with that specific part but also lead to downstream failures of related systems.

Genuine Cummins Parts are built to the same exacting specifications as Cummins first-fit parts. This not only prevents unplanned downtime in the short term, but also keeps your school bus engines running strong for years after your initial purchase.

For more information on Cummins power solutions for the school bus market, visit

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Does your district/company have school buses equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots?
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