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News


LEDs Gain Foothold in Illuminating School Bus Safety for Motorists


WRITTEN BY RYAN GRAY | RYAN@STNONLINE.COM


A


pilot project underway at Marietta City Schools for the past two months has been testing the efficacy of additional LED lights installed on the front and rear bumper to call motorist attention to school bus stops.


Kimberly Ellis, who succeeded the retired Mark Lindstrom as the district’s transportation director earlier this year, explained that the UltraLED lighting system works in conjunction with the school bus eight-way lights and the stop arm during student loading and unloading. “It’s just an extra measure to keep our students safe and to make our public aware that the school bus is stopped and they don’t need to pass it,” she said.


Tis month, she added that enough data should be in to decide


on how to proceed, namely if the LED system is destined eventual- ly for the remainder of Marietta City’s fleet. Tat will depend on if the district’s stop-arm video managed by American Traffic System and captured on both Angeltrax and REI cameras shows a marked decrease in the number of illegal passing incidents on the pilot bus. “If we show lower violations, we’ll do everything we possibly can to get the LEDs on all our buses,” she added. Increasingly, student transporters nationwide are turning to


28 School Transportation News • MAY 2017


LEDs to increase visibility and safety on and around their school buses. Tis month’s survey indicates that more than two-thirds of readers are choosing LEDs over traditional incandescent lights, so said the 366 respondents with the title of transportation director or supervisor for their local operations. One of those is Glenn Sykes. Te director of transportation for Alamosa School District RE-11J in south-central Colorado just east of the Rio Grande National Forest said he and other local student transporters are especially specifying LEDs for the rear of the school bus to increase visibility. Alamosa recent ordered LEDs pre-installed on its new school bus vehicles in response to a rear-end collision. “Te old incandescent (lights) were so difficult to see in the afternoon sun,” he said of the incident, in which another vehicle slammed into the back of one of his buses. “After talking to the people involved and other districts seeing a large drop in rear ends because of LEDs, we decided that they are a must for us.” He said the initial incremental purchase price of LEDs is the only issue giving him pause in extending LEDs throughout his entire fleet. “Our state does a partial reimbursement for them but they are still expensive.” According to Colorado state administrative rules for the public


CELEBRATING25YEARS


PHOTO CREDIT: THOMAS BUILT BUSES


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