Child Passenger Safety advocates are found within many specialties, from bus drivers and school transportation administrators to educators and community organizers. Their activites range from working directly with caregivers or children to setting policies or teaching those who want to work in the field. This section offers information from Safe Ride News related specifically to School Transportation Professionals. Please contact us if you wish to contribute or make suggestions for additional material related to school transportation and child care.
Maintaining Your CSRS Investment
Editor Denise Donaldson attended the 2012 School Transportation News Expo in Reno. Click here to see her presentation and supporting handout for the session "Maintaining Your CSRS Investment."
School Bus Handbook—Only the Tip of an IcebergThe new School Bus Safety Handbook has generated quite a response from SRN readers who, I expect, are among the most avid advocates and the first-adopters of anything that can extend their CPS knowledge.
Now we are reaching out to the school transportation world. Those folks are our main audience, as the organization of the book shows.
Editorial by Deborah D. Stewart
Child Safety Restraint Systems on School Buses National Training, NHTSA Course
This 8-hour curriculum includes hands-on with products. It focuses specifically on installing and using child safety restraint systems on large and small school buses. It follows the current standardized CPST curriculum and six CEUs for CPSTs may be available—inquire with class organizer.
The course can be taught by a CPST or CPST-instructor who has completed this 8-hour course as a student. (The instructor team for any course offering should include at least one person with experience working in the school bus industry.) To obtain a copy, contact Deanna Capra, National Safety Council, 1121 Spring Lake Dr., Itasca, IL 60143-3201, firstname.lastname@example.org (Please allow 3 weeks for delivery.)
Click here for a list of courses curently being offered.
CPS for School Buses listserv, moderated by Safe Ride News
To sign up for the CPS for School Buses listserv, please click the following link.Sign Me Up
SRN Editorial: Winds Blowing Warm and Cold for Seat Belts on School Buses
Once again, in the heat of August, NHTSA aimed an icy blast at efforts to require lap-shoulder belts on all school buses. A petition submitted by Safe Ride News Publications and others in January, 2010 (SRN January/February 2010), after a fatal school bus crash in Connecticut, was denied by NHTSA on August 25, 2011. The agency said, “We have not found a safety problem supporting a federal requirement for lap-shoulder belts on large school buses, which are already safe.”
Guideline for the Safe Transportation of Pre-school Age Children in School Buses
Original NHTSA document on using child safety restraints on school buses for children below kindergarten age/size. Posted as a still-useful reference.
Connecticut Bus Crash Leads to Legislation Proposal
On January 9, 2010, a fatal crash occurred on a Connecticut highway when a bus carrying 16 high school students plunged off an elevated section of I-84. One boy, Vikas Parikh, died and everyone else on board was injured in some way. The school bus had no seat belts.
The Hartford Courant quoted a student who had been on the bus: “All of a sudden, we were [all] airborne . . . the bus hit like three times and we hit down finally to a stop and like half the kids, some of them were like wedged into the seats.”
State Rep. Antonio Guerrera, from Parikh’s hometown of Rocky Hill, has not waited for a crash analysis to promise to introduce legislation this session to require seat belts on new buses. He is co-chair of the General Assembly Transportation Committee. Similar bills have been introduced more than 20 times in Connecticut. The Hartford Courant has endorsed this effort.
NTSB Report Released on Florida Bus Crash
On November 12, 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which examines all fatal and significant crashes, released its report on the Milton, Florida, school bus crash that occurred on May 28, 2008. In that crash, 14 third graders on a field trip were in a bus that rolled over completely at least twice on a major highway. All were wearing lap belts. The driver (in a lap-shoulder belt) and one student (whose belt apparently was loose) had serious but not potentially disabling injuries. None of the others had more than minor injuries.
Source: NTSB, http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/fulltext/HAB0903.htm (report #HAB-09-03)
Babies on the School Bus
When considering school bus occupants, very young children like preschoolers, toddlers and infants don’t typically come to mind. However, Nancy Netherland, Program and Design Management Specialist for Migrant Seasonal Head Start Training and Technical Assistance (MSHS TTA) reports that, of the approximately 35,000-37,000 children enrolled each year in the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program, more than half are under 3 years old, and some are as young as six weeks. Since approximately 67 percent of these young children are transported on school buses, this means that this program alone regularly transports more than 12,000 children each year who are 2 or younger.
Getting Involved in School Bus CPS
Child restraint use on school buses is recognized as a best practice necessity nowadays. School districts regularly transport children with special needs who must ride in child safety restraint systems, and in some districts infants ride to school programs with their teenage moms. Additionally, the law requires that the nearly 1 million children in Head Start programs all ride in an appropriate CR. These students are mostly 4 years old or younger, and may be as young as 6 weeks.
Why No Boosters on Buses?
In October 2008, NHTSA published the "Federal Motor Vehicle Standards;Seating Systems, Occupant Crash Protection, Seat Belt Assemb;y Anchorages, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection" final rule, the last components of which will take effect on October 21, 2011. Important among these is the requirement for new buses of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less to be equipped with lap-shoulder belts, rather than lap-only belts, in all positions.
New School Bus Seat Belt Rule Set
In October 2008, upgraded federal school bus seating requirements were issued. This is the biggest change in FMVSS 222 since it first went into effect in 1977.