School bus safety in the Tri-State - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

School bus safety in the Tri-State

By Dan Wells – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) – Whenever we hear of a school bus involved in a wreck, it always raises the issue of safety.  

Every year, more than twenty million kids ride a bus to school, sporting events and field trips all across the country.  

"School bus transportation is just about the safest form of road transportation there is," says Bonnie Echelbarger of First Student, Inc.

That may be true, but accidents, sometimes deadly, and we've seen them right here in the tri-state do happen.  That's why people are constantly looking at ways of enhancing school bus safety.

School districts are teaming up with lawmakers and transportation providers like First Student Inc. to work on new safety devices for every school bus in the area.

One of the latest additions to buses her e in the Queen City is the child check-mate safety system, an electronic child reminder which activates the moment a kid steps on board.

"Talking child checkmates is a motion sensor that can pick up any motion on a bus if...God forbid a child is left on the bus," says Tom Gutman of First Student, Inc.

The system can't be deactivated until the driver actually walks to the rear of the bus at the end of a route, to conduct a visual sweep of the entire bus for lost articles or sleeping children.

"It only takes about seventeen seconds, if you count it off, from the time you turn off the engine, walk back and touch the button, look through all the seats and walk back,” said Gutman.

Now driver reaction to these additions has, so far, been positive, drivers at First Student see it as enhancing a bus driver's ability to protect the kids he or she drives.

We also found that extensive bus safety checks are also done by drivers every day before the journey to pick your kids up even begins.

"Including under, behind the glass, the engine, the oil, making sure the air brakes work, the leaf springs work, so there is a lot that they go through." said Echelbarger.

It wasn't that long ago, in the name of safety, video cameras were added to busses.

Now that everyone has a clear view of what can happen when something goes wrong the issue of safety has become even more vital and ongoing.

"While we have the beginning training we have also monthly safety meeting and mirror clinics and diminishing clearance training, everything to keep your kids safe out there on the roads," said Echelbarger.

It’s a big effort to take and keep the future of our nation safe on the way to school and beyond.

(Copyright 2009 WXIX-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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