A student’s safety starts at the bus stop. Almost every day, millions of children across the United States are transported to and from school via the bus. The third full week of October each year is dedicated to National School Bus Safety Week, which is a public education program that aims to engage parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, administrators, and other involved parties to band together to reinforce the importance of school bus safety. Statistically, riding the bus to and from school is safer than commuting by taking a public car, public transportation, biking, or walking. With congregated efforts to remind, reinforce, and evolve school bus safety tactics, the community will continuously ensure the safety of our children.
School buses are the most regulated mode of transportation. They are protected through legislation, and it is illegal for other vehicles to pass a school bus when students are getting on or off to minimize accidents and enforce the safety of students.
In their entirety, they are designed to protect passengers from injuries. Externally, school buses are equipped with technology for symbiotic awareness between the school bus and other vehicles. The buses are designed with highly visible, flashing lights for warning signals, mirrors to increase visibility, stop signs, and more. Internally, school buses are designed with the crash protection concept of compartmentalization. In this, passengers are protected by strong, closely-spaced seats built with energy-absorbing technology to minimize crash force in case of an accident.
In New York, it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus when it is displaying its large red visual sign. Flashing lights from a bus mean the bus is loading or unloading students. Whenever the bus’s signals are in operation, all motorists are required to stop, regardless of if they are approaching the school bus from the front or the rear.
A first-time offender of illegally passing a school bus can be fined up to $400 and/or up to 30 days in jail. Repeat perpetrators can face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail.
In 2019, New York has authorized school districts and municipalities to use stop-arm cameras on school buses to hold drivers accountable for passing a stopped school bus. These cameras are installed to capture images of and identify vehicles violating the proper stopping procedures.
Today’s technological advancements are creating a landscape of modernization in the transportation industry. School districts are beginning to implement routing software that automates the operations of their fleet management, bus routes, and student management.
With the implementation of routing software, districts can increase the efficiency, transparency, and safety of student transportation. Routing software provides a hub for streamlining the fundamentals of routing operations, like GPS, route planning, inventory, and vehicle maintenance. Going further, the software provides an all-in-one database that allows for student tracking and management. This automation gives way to real-time updates and communications on arrival times, delays, route status, and more. With the integration of this technology, districts and parents have unprecedented access to information about their students on their journeys to and from school.
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