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TRUST THE


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n Greenville County, South Carolina, a school bus with four students nearly crashed head-on with an oncoming, out-of-control semi-trailer. In Charlotte, North Caroli- na, two students were injured in a multi-vehicle crash with a school bus. In St. Lucie County, Florida, a school bus was rear-ended by a passenger vehicle. Tat bus had 37 students aboard, but none were injured. Meanwhile, an Omaha, Nebraska, school bus collided with a passenger vehicle with no injuries. All of the above incidents occurred in just one week in March. Te risk of collision is one of many that may be abated and avoided by automated technologies such as col- lision avoidance systems. Automated technology, which includes autonomous vehicles and other systems, still needs to be vetted properly before it is fully adopted for school buses, but it has the potential to greatly reduce the incidence of school bus collisions and accidents, which happen every day across America. T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Highways and Transit and its Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure last July about the implementation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to improve safety on roadways. Her testimony included all types of vehicle transport and provided many recommendations. One such recommendation was to increase the implementation of collision avoidance technologies. Dinh-Zarr mentioned an accident that took place on the night of Jan. 19, 2016. A motorcoach occupied by a driver and 21 passengers collided with an unmarked crash attenuator and concrete barrier on a highway in San Jose, California during low visibility conditions. Two passengers were ejected from the vehicle and died, and the driver and 13 pas- sengers were injured. Later testing determined that, had the bus been equipped with a collision avoidance system, the system could have detected the crash attenuator and alerted the driver to the hazard to mitigate or prevent the crash. “More than 90 percent of crashes on United States roadways can be attributed to driv-


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er error,” stated Dinh-Zarr. “For more than two decades, the NTSB has been advocating implementation of various technologies to help reduce driver error. Vehicle-based colli- sion avoidance technologies such as forward collision warning (FCW) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems are important for avoiding or mitigating the impact of rear-end crashes, which represent nearly half of all two-vehicle crashes. Other driver assists and collision avoidance technologies such as adaptive cruise control, advance lighting, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning systems can aid drivers and can help to reduce the occurrence of other types of crashes.” Bendix Commerical Vehicle Systems offers additional automated technology to


avert collisions. Tey supply full-stability systems, also called ESC (Electronic Stability Control) technology that has been adopted as standard equipment by Blue Bird and later Tomas Built Buses, which are a more complex solution than antilock braking systems (ABS) or the roll-only technology known as RSC (Roll Stability Control). Tis technology utilizes more sensors than such systems to address both roll and


directional stability and to quickly detect situations and conditions that can lead to loss of control or vehicle rollover. Full-stability systems can also utilize automatic brake inter- ventions involving the steer, drive, and trailer axles, whereas roll-only systems typically apply the brakes to only the drive and trailer axles. “Te strategy of the full-stability system provides the fundamental approach to the automated and autonomous vehicle braking capabilities of these advanced driver assistance systems,” said Frederick Andersky, Bendix’s director of marketing and customer solutions. “Because it’s connected to all tractor and trailer axles, the system can, by varying the


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38 School Transportation News • MAY 2018


pressure at each wheel-end, help reduce the impact of the forces that can lead to rollover and loss of control situations and can optimize the performance of collision mitigation technologies.” While Din-Zarr and Andersky may feel optimistic about collision and accident avoid- ance technology, not everyone feels this way when it comes to their use on school buses.


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