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SPECIAL REPORT


Shrinking the ‘Danger Zone’


Child detection systems promise to solve the deadliest school bus incidents, but wide-scale adoption will take time Written By David George | david@stnonline.com


W


hile new School Transportation News research indicates that nine out of 10 school districts in the U.S. and Canada are not currently using 360-degree camera


systems to detect children at school bus stops, based on reader reports, the reasons why go beyond the expected answer of budgetary constraints, and vehicle replace- ment cycles. The need for the eventual, widespread adoption of


sufficient exterior child-detection systems at bus stops seems especially urgent for younger students, who are more easily missed by drivers in blind spots. The National School Bus Loading & Unloading Zone Survey that was


conducted by the Kansas State Department of Education, found that 73 percent of school bus stop fatalities over the past 50 years occurred to students who were 9 years of age and younger. One concern that has been voiced in the industry


about child detection systems is that they may generate over-alerts via false alarms. The systems also need to provide the context of what set off the alarm, when all the driver sees is often just an empty street and sidewalk. What the school bus industry doesn’t want to see, is the classic case of the blind man trying to determine the size of an elephant by only touching along his long, thin tail. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.


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28 School Transportation News • MAY 2019 www.tsdconference.com


SAVE THE DATE MARCH 20-25, 2020


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