The first school bus was a horse-drawn wagons around 1890. Then a motorized school bus was born in the early 1900s. These school buses were called “Kid Hacks”. The first all-metal school bus was built in 1930. During the 1930’s more and more children were going to school which meant more school buses were need.
One major change occurred in 1932 in California, as a result of more drivers not stopping for the red lights on the bus when children were crossing the roadway.
Two things became law,
This law is still on the books and remains an effective tool in protecting students who must cross the roadway. California has not suffered a student fatality when utilizing this procedure.
In 1939, there were no standards established for school buses. In 1939, Dr. Frank W. Cyr, State Direction of Florida organized the first National Minimum Standards Conference on school buses. During the conference, forty-four standards were adopted by the transportation officials. One standard required all school buses be “national school bus chrome” (aka yellow) and another standard provided red loading and unloading lights to the school bus to help protect the children, when the bus stopped to load and unload.
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Today, there are approximately 480,000 school buses on the roads transporting 25 million students, more than half of America’s schoolchildren. In 2016 there were 268.8 million vehicles registered, sharing the road with school buses. An estimated 15 million red light violations of school bus stop are expected to take place this year according to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.
During the last 47 years, 1,238 students were killed outside the school bus. 73.2% or 906 fatalities occurred to students who were 9 years old and under.
October 29, 2018 was the saddest week of my 64 years in pupil transportation.
Many ideas have come forward such as:
Pupil transportation officials have been talking about the best way to get children across the highway safely for the last eighty-six years. Let’s stop talking about it and take action now. Get the state Legislators to adopt California’s school bus crossing law. Use the following language in the Legislators bill.
When bus drivers, matrons, teachers serving as chaperones or volunteers are used, they shall escort all student(s) from age 5 to 13 when loading or unloading and any other student(s) who need to cross the roadway.
Any action for personal injuries by a passenger on a school bus against a school district, school bus operator under contract with a school district, or any agent or employee of a district or operator (including, but not limited to, bus drivers, matrons, teachers serving as chaperones and volunteers), no such person shall be held liable solely because the injured party was not following the safe school bus safety rules provided when driver is outside of the bus crossing students across the roadway when loading or unloading students. However, nothing contained herein shall be construed to grant immunity from liability for failure to:
(a) maintain in operating order of any person(s) duty required by statute, rule or regulation;
(b) comply with applicable statutes, rules or regulations.
2016-2017 Kansas school bus loading, unloading survey report. (www.ksde.org).
About the author:
Richard Fischer drove his first school bus in 1952 in the United States Air Force. After 4 years in the Air Force he started driving school bus for Orange Unified Schools in California, at 23 became a school bus director for Centralia school district did that for 11 years. Later he was hired at ARA transportation to be the corporate VP for safety and training for a fleet of 5,500 buses in 11 states. From there he started his own world-wide school bus safety and training consultant company in 1977. 1997 Fischer became a “Hall of Fame” member from the National Association of Pupil Transportation
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