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Special Report Do You Know Where Your


Students Are? Student detection systems promise to make the Danger Zone around the school bus a little less dangerous


WRITTEN BY ART GISSENDANER P


erhaps no school year has been as anticipated, and feared, like the 2018-2019 school year. Student safety became more than a campaign slogan during this past summer, as state and local officials attempted to walk the walk in two


key safety areas—school campuses and school buses. Literally thousands of news reports focused on legislative efforts to make school campuses safe from active shooters, by allowing armed guards on campuses. To make school buses safer, lawmakers turned to technology to


prevent the recurrence of several tragic events that resulted in deaths inside and outside the bus. Two key pieces of legislation, one in California and one in New Jersey, were to be enacted by the start of the school year.


Tese actions hastened the transition of safety technology from the commercial sector to student transportation. Te technology includes 360-degree cameras that give the driver an overhead view of the bus; student detection sensors that notify bus drivers with


26 School Transportation News • OCTOBER 2018


an alarm upon sensing movement within 10 feet of the bus; radar that warns the driver of any metal objects in the road and reads speed signs; alarms that warn the driver if the bus drifts out of its lane; technology that requires the driver to walk to the rear of the bus to ensure no student is left on the bus; collision warnings if the bus gets too close to another vehicle; and stabilizers that will help right the bus if it moves into a skid. Much of this technology was on display at the STN EXPO Reno


in July. All the major bus OEMs are making variations of these technologies available on their buses, according to the wishes of school districts. With so much cutting-edge technology that is now available, and in some cases, required by law, the question becomes how many school districts can afford it? Te answer is not as many as you’d like, but more than you’d think.


A VIEW FROM THE TOP Tat the school bus is the safest form of travel for students to and


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