School Bus Safety

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School Bus Safety Features

Federal law requires that manufactures meet stringent safety standards for vehicles used by or for a school. These standards require school buses to be more conspicuous and have enhanced seating systems, crashworthiness protection, mirrors and emergency exits. What does it mean for the children that ride the “ Big Yellow Bus?”  It means they are virtually riding in a steel cage. What are the safety features of the school bus that make it so special?  Consider the following safety features of school buses that are not found in any other passenger vehicle:

  • School bus seats are above the crash line so that the impact of a vehicle colliding with a school bus impacts beneath the seated passengers;
  • Rollover protection which specifies the minimum structural strength of buses is rollover-type accidents;
  • Body joint strength which specifies the minimum strength of the joints between panels that comprise the bus body and the body structure;
  • Passenger seating and crash protection which establishes requirements for school bus seating systems for all sizes of school buses;
  • Pedestrian safety devices with an automatic stop signal arm on the left side of the bus to alert motorists that they should stop their vehicles to allow students to board or leave the stopped school bus, and school bus safety crossing arms which require students to walk at least eight to ten feet in front of the school bus to cross a roadway;
  • Amber and red flashing warning lights to alert other motorists that the school bus is stopping to load or discharge students;
  • Mirror systems which provide school bus drivers with a full view of the front and sides of the school bus danger zones;
  • Bus emergency exits (doors, windows and roof hatches);
  • Bus fuel system integrity (a steel cage around the fuel tank); and
  • Fingerprinting, physical examinations (including drug and alcohol testing), training, licensing and permitting of school bus drivers.

Reference

Illinois State Board of Education. School Bus Safety. Retrieved from http://www.isbe.state.il.us/funding/pdf/bus_safety_parents.pdf