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with a tractor-trailer in Port St. Lucie on March 26, 2012. In addition to the school district, the defendants named in the suit


include IC Bus of Arkansas, Te C.E. White Co. (now owned by HSM Solutions), BESI Inc., IMMI Inc. and I-10 RV Inc. (a.k.a. Riv- ers Bus Sales Inc.), according to Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, the West Palm Beach law firm representing the Beauchamps. The first four companies were responsible for the design,

manufacture and/or installation of the school bus seats and seat belts, said the firm, while the latter sold the school bus to the district. The lawsuit did not state the amount of damages being sought. “As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on pending litigation,” a

spokesman for Navistar, the parent company of IC Bus, told STN. BESI, IMMI and HSM all told STN they were unaware of any pending litigation.

he family of Aaron Beauchamp in March widened their wrong- ful-death lawsuit against St. Lucie County School District in Florida to include four school bus industry manufacturers. Teir 9-year-old son, Aaron, was killed when his school bus collided

St. Lucie County school bus driver Albert Hazen was cited for

careless driving in the 2012 accident that ended Beauchamp’s life and injured 16 other students. Te Florida Highway Patrol crash report said Hazen was “inattentive” as he improperly turned left into the path of an oncoming semitrailer. Te bus spun 180 degrees clockwise and the truck overturned. Tough the victim was wearing a lap belt, its efficacy was called into question afterward. Tis accident and a similar bus crash in Chesterfield, N.J., reignited the debate about whether to require seat belts on school buses. Te National Transportation Safety Board investigated both accidents and released its findings last July. NTSB’s highway accident report states, “In the Port St. Lucie,

Florida, crash, the combination of high forces, lack of upper body restraint, and loss of seating system integrity resulted in fatal inju- ries to one passenger.” According to the family’s attorneys, Lance Ivey and Matthew

Haynes, the lawsuit against IC Bus is a product liability case related to certain “defects and inadequacies” of school bus safety systems, particularly passenger seats.

Study Looks at How Motorists Pay Attention to School Buses

ists process “visual stimuli” and how that information affects their actions when encountering school buses — especially when illegal passing incidents occur. CSN Founder Ward Leber told STN


the NASDPTS National Stop Arm Count conducted the past three years has been a literal eye-opener. Last year, 108,000 participating bus drivers in 29 states reported that 85,279 vehicles illegally passed buses at loading and unloading stops. NASDPTS extrapolated that, nationwide, 15 million motorists could be illegally passing school buses in an average 180-day school year. CSN used NASDPTS’ number of

reported violations for its study. Last year the company introduced its “Safe Bus” program, which relies on corporate sponsorship, to equip school buses with GPS and other technology at no charge while also providing driver and student training. When applying the associa- tion’s figures to all 480,000 school buses nationwide, CSN further estimated that the real number of illegal passing incidents might be closer to 68 to 81 million per year.

34 School Transportation News May 2014

“We simply could not ignore the unprecedented results,” said Leber. Why do these illegal pass-bys happen? Everyone has a theory,

ranging from motorists not caring, to being rushed, to not know- ing the law. But Leber and Professor Michael Hout, the principal investigator of the Vision Sciences and Memory Laboratory at New Mexico State, told STN they hope the study provides concrete data on the phenomenon for the first time.

he Child Safety Network is sponsor- ing a multi-faceted study conducted by researchers at New Mexico State University to determine how motor-

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