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prevalant throughout the country. According to the National Congress of State Legislatures, Maine recently became the 26th state to authorize school districts to install the equipment on the front bumper. They swing out during a school bus stop and force students to walk farther out in front of the school bus, and in a better line of site to both the school bus driver and other motorists. The National School Transportation Specifications &


Procedures manual recommends that school buses use the equipment. Jeff Cassell, founder of the School Bus Safety Company, said he will never forget the human cost of making crossing-control gates so prevalent across the industry. He recalled the 2002 death of a 7-year-old New Jersey boy who was struck and killed by a Laidlaw school bus. Cassel was the company’s risk manager at the time. The family’s attorney called him and in asking a series


of questions changed Cassell’s life. Soon, the attorney was grilling Cassell about the effectiveness of crossing-control gates in preventing students from being run over.


“He says, have you heard of crossing gates on the front of school buses? Yes, I have. How much do they cost? I don’t know, and to be honest we never really thought about that. Not a good answer to give to a lawyer during a deposition,” Cassell said. Cassel advised his legal team to settle the multi-million


dollar lawsuit and convinced the company’s leadership to outfit the entire fleet of 33,000 school buses at the time with the crossing-control gates. “If I did it any sooner, that kid may still be alive,” he shared. Even a bus outfitted with the best exterior cameras,


sensors and crossing-control arms must be operated by an expert school bus driver. “Everybody has a budget they have to work under, and no one has surplus budgets, so one of the cheap- est and [most] effective things you can do is training,” Coughlin concluded. “Training needs to be continu- ous as a reminder for our drivers.” ●


JANE


IS A 1ST GRADER IN MRS. MEAD’S CLASS. WHEN SHE GROWS UP SHE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT OR WORK WITH SHELTER DOGS. HER FAVORITE FOOD IS FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS.


DURING THE CURRENT SCHOOL CLOSURES, WE ARE DELIVERING OF MEALS TO STUDENTS JUST LIKE JANE, WITH A 100% SUCCESS RATE. AS THE LEADING MCKINNEY-VENTO STUDENT TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT PARTNERS WHILE


Focusing On The One.


www.alcschools.com alc@alcschools.com


54 School Transportation News • MAY 2020 thousands


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