The sponsors of federal legislation that would promote school bus safety demonstrated new safety technologies in Washington, D.C., to promote School Bus Safety Week, which was Oct. 21-25.
The event, organized by the National School Transportation Association, was attended by U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.). They are sponsors of the STOP for School Buses Act, which would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to conduct a comprehensive review of existing laws and programs, recommend best practices and create a nationwide public safety campaign.
“Every driver shares the roads with school buses, and we all have a role to play in keeping kids safe,” Walorski said. “Today’s event was an important opportunity to learn more about innovative technologies that can help prevent drivers from illegally passing school buses and to discuss our bipartisan efforts in Congress to ensure students are safe on their way to and from school. The STOP for School Buses Act will help states and local communities take the most effective actions to prevent tragedies and save lives.”
The United Motorcoach Association has joined 23 other state and national industry organizations, representing all segments of the national school bus community, in writing Congress to support the legislation. The effort is led by the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS). The organizations represent all state regulators and public and private operators of school buses.
Safe Fleet, of Belton, Missouri, displayed a school bus equipped with its Predictive Stop Arm and Driver Alert technology to officials attending the demonstration.
The Predictive Stop Arm uses radar and predictive analytics technology to measure oncoming vehicle speed, location and acceleration or deceleration. If a potential illegal pass is predicted, audible alerts are issued to the bus driver and students to warn that it would not be safe to cross the street.
Safe Fleet’s Right-Hand Danger Zone Driver Alert system is based on an externally mounted camera and algorithms that detect pedestrians and their movements within a high-risk area outside the bus and activate audible and visual warnings to alert the operator when a risk is present.