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A Clay County, Mo., jury on

March 22 found that the school bus driver was at fault for a May 9, 2005 collision in Liberty that killed two motorists and critically injured two students. Te Liberty bus driver mistakenly depressed the accelerator instead of the brake, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Tis decision, which came after an eight-week civil trial, meant no monetary restitution for the fami- lies who had sued Bendix Com- mercial Vehicle Systems, Tomas Built Buses and Freightliner LLC. Te families argued in the lawsuit that faulty brakes caused the crash. Te accident occurred during

the morning rush hour as the bus headed to Ridgeview Elementary School with 53 passengers on board. After swerving to avoid other vehicles, the bus broadsided two automobiles, killing their drivers. Te impact critically injured students Renna Yi and Andrew Hubbard and sent the bus driver and other students to the hospital. The plaintiffs alleged that the

automatic slack adjusters, part of the bus brake system, were improperly installed. They also contended that the bus manufac- turer failed to warn that manual adjustment to the automatic slack adjusters could lead to brake failure. In his closing statement, the

attorney representing Bendix said the brakes were correctly installed and properly adjusted, and driver error alone caused the accident. In September 2009, NTSB

concluded in its crash investigation final report that the driver’s “pedal misapplication” caused the bus to blast through the intersection.

Stertil-Koni, Vehicle Service Group Reach Heavy-Duty Lift Licensing Agreement

Lift manufacturers Stertil-Koni USA Inc. and Vehicle Service Group (VSG) have agreed to license patent- ed heavy-duty vehicle lift technology to each other. Te mutual licensing agreements resolve patent infringement lawsuits the companies filed against each other in July and September of last year. Financial details of the agreement

were undisclosed. VSG agreed to acknowledge Ster-

til-Koni’s U.S. Patent 8,191,865 “De- vice and System for Lifting a Motor Vehicle” (the ‘865 patent) for Ster- til-Koni’s ECOLIFT line of heavy-du- ty in-ground scissor lifts, including the combination of the scissor mechanisms, carriage, cover and other parts.

VSG also agreed to pay a licensing fee for the use of this patented technology on its Rotary Lift EFX series of heavy-duty in-ground scissor lifts.

OBITUARY: FORMER KENTUCKY TRANSPORTATION OFFICIAL PUSHED FOR SAFER SCHOOL BUSES FOLLOWING CARROLLTON FIRE Milo D. Bryant, who as state transportation secretary advocated for safer school buses

after the fatal 1988 Carrollton, Ky., bus crash, died April 3 after a brief illness. He was 82. Most recently, Bryant was chairman and CEO of Ayrshire Electronics, but before that, he led the state Transportation Cabinet in May 1988, when an older-model school bus was struck head-on by a drunken, wrong-way driver on Interstate 71. Te bus was returning to from a church outing to an amusement park near Cincinnati. Of the 60 passengers, 27 died after becoming trapped in the on-board fire. Te NTSB concluded in its investigation that the front, primary loading door was jammed shut after the collision, which forced most passengers to evacuate through the rear emergency door. As a result, former Kentucky Gov. Wallace Wilkinson appointed Bryant to lead a

bus-safety task force that recommended additional exits on new buses, push-out windows on new and old buses, fire-retardant seats and floor coverings, and increased training for new bus drivers. Doug Alexander, Wilkinson’s former spokesman, told the Courier-Journal that school

buses are safer today because of Milo and Gov. Wilkinson. “Two of the initiatives of the Wilkinson administration, for which Milo had responsibility,

have never gotten the attention they deserve. One was the adoption of new safety features on school buses following the Carrollton bus crash. Te other was the repair or replacement of bridges in Kentucky that would not bear the weight of a loaded school bus,” he said. 25

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