DeKalb Central United School District in Indiana is making headlines with an advanced initiative that includes new safety and clean energy features for its fleet of school buses. As reported by The Star, they will be the only school district in the state with new stop-arm cameras and seatbelts installed on all their buses, as well as propane run engines in most of the vehicles.
Using an innovative and cost-effective leasing plan, DeKalb Central was able to acquire 38 new buses and do a fleet-wide installment of features they had been slowly incorporating for the past few years.
This is no small accomplishment, as DeKalb Central’s Transportation Director Renee Dawson acknowledged. “Right now, we have everything on our buses that the industry believes to be the safest,” she added.
It did not take long to see the impact of adding high-resolution stop-arm cameras when at least six violations were recorded as the students headed back to school on Aug. 10. Dawson said she is hopeful that this added security feature will help reduce violations.
Some drivers had been hesitant about adding seatbelts onto the buses, but Dawson pointed out that “…[T]he seatbelt adds to that level of safety. They buckle up in their car, so it makes sense to them to buckle up on the bus.”
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The propane-fueled engines will not only provide cleaner breathing air for students and drivers, but they are expected to save the district an estimated $3,250 per bus every year. Vehicle maintenance will cost less and the propane engines are much quieter and warm-up faster than diesel engines.
Dawson is reportedly excited about the revolutionary new example her district has set for the rest of the state, and hopefully for the country.