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sult, an international transportation consultancy, said the drop in the number of fatalities also includes “pure luck.” “I’m not saying the drivers are not doing a good


job,” he added. “Five-, 6- and 7-year-olds are the most common victims. Once those kids get in motion, they are in motion. If they drop something, they are going to pick it up.” And that’s precisely when tragedy can strike.


Fischer added that when bus drivers are accustomed to seeing a child cross the street every day, if there is a break in their concentration, they sometimes assume the child has crossed the street even when the child hasn’t.


Mirrors and FMVSS 111 Safety experts offered a series of steps that, when applied in unison, could have a profound impact on the situation. Tey range from more closely following existing federal safety regulations, to better education for everyone involved, to better adminis- trative oversight and support. Fischer pointed out that from January to the end of


March, three children were killed crossing the street and another seven were struck by cars. He said often the reason children are killed by the bus in the Danger Zone is because the mirror system is not set according to FMVSS 111, which gives specific directions on how school bus mirrors should be adjusted to give the bus driver the optimum 360-degree view of the exterior of the bus, up to a minimum of 12 feet. Fischer said many drivers improperly use the con-


Can you see something wrong with this picture taken during a mirror grid test at Lakeshore Central School District in New York?


one child too many,” said Jeff Cassell, president of the School Bus Safety Company and a former safety director for Laidlaw. “Only zero is acceptable. (Four a year) is a good reduction, but if you’re the parent of one of the four who were killed, those statistics don’t mean much. Obviously, we’re going in the right direction.” State participation in the survey is voluntary, so that number could be higher. Tere is no readily available way of knowing. A more elusive statistic in the number of non-fatal injuries that occur in the danger zone. “We only deal with fatalities and I only get what they send to me,” commented Wilma Crabtree, senior assistant for the Kansas Department of Education. “It would be too difficult to gather that information since we have a tough time getting (states) to send us information on the fatalities.” Dick Fischer, owner and president of Trans-Con-


vex mirrors at the front of the bus to see traffic to the rear or to see if the red lights are on in front of the bus, rather than looking for kids in danger zone. “About 95 percent of the mirrors are out of ad- justment and fail to meet the FMVSS 111,” Fischer said. “When the buses leave the factory, the mirrors are not set according to FMVSS 111, so the mirrors must be set for each driver when they arrive at the bus yard.” Fischer said the mirrors should be adjusted when


the driver’s seat is at its lowest point to ensure they comply with the federal rule. However, Victoria DeCarlo, a bus driver in the


Lake Shore Central School District in Angola, New York, is not convinced that FMVSS 111 is the panacea that some think it is. While DeCarlo agreed with Fischer’s estimate that about 95 percent of bus mirrors nationwide may be noncompliant, DeCarlo said her district’s driver training this year revealed that a bus’ mirrors can follow FVMSSS 111 and still have blind spots. She said a child can disappear from the driver’s view and still technically be within the Danger


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