Oklahoma this spring changed its minimum specifications for all new route school bus purchases to include LEDs for all lighting and lamps.
Trent Gibson, the state director of student transportation and transfers at the Oklahoma Department of Education, said all new school buses manufactured after Sept. 1 of this year and sold to local school districts must comply to the standard. The new spec states that "all body signaling lights including red and amber flashers shall be LED" and adds that "back-up lights may be LED."
Included in the LED requirement are all body signaling lights including red and amber flashers and stop arm lights.
While he said the increased costs associated with the more expensive LEDs was a concern, Gibson added that the final decision came down to safety because the lights are brighter and last longer than traditional halogen or incandescent bulbs.
“No transportation director that has purchased a total LED bus will go back to anything else,” he told School Transportation News. “Every one of them talks first about how much of a difference they make regarding making their buses visible to drivers.”
Stop arms are required by FMVSS 131 on all school buses used in all states for regular home-to-school transportation. The standard includes specs on the location of the two required lamps on the stop arm, a reflectivity test and the lighting flash rate. MFSABs are exempt from the federal standard as they are from Oklahoma's new LED specs.