|Outside Protects Inside|
|Written by Shanna Thompson|
|Sunday, 01 October 2006 00:00|
Products around the bus designed to get students to and from school safely
The well-being of riders inside the school bus is directly connected to the effectiveness of the features on the outside of the bus. With that in mind, school transportation officials and manufacturers put specific focus on the characteristics that define the safety of a school bus, meaning mirrors, decals and reflective applique, and LEDs.
At Longview Public Schools in Washington state, transportation supervisor Rick Lecker retrofits his older school buses with Rosco mirrors, which serve as the standard mirror system on every school bus manufactured in North America. Longview operates 60 buses and transports 3,500 students each day across just under 1 million miles a year.
“We want to make sure the drivers are able to see all of the areas to keep the children safe,” Lecker said. Keeping the blind spots down is very important. Rosco has just done a very good job with that.”
And it doesn’t hurt that broken mirrors are less of a problem since the glass doesn’t actually touch the frame, said Glenn Powell, vehicle maintenance manager at Henderson County Board of Education in Kentucky, which operates 112 buses, 60 of which have Rosco mirrors, and transports 5,200 students daily across 1.2 million miles each year.
“The advantage is we can waylay a tree limb, and it does not break that mirror,” he said. “We’ve had lots less mirror breakage.”
Most recently, Rosco introduced the AccuStyle mirror system and the Rosco E-Z Bracket to virtually eliminate vibration, as well as the Rosco Open View and Open View ES mirror systems.
“(The EuroStyle) was the first and most widely accepted remote mirror system used in the school bus industry,” said sales manager Lew Lupton. “Rosco is constantly striving to bring new and innovative products to the school bus market.”
Mirror Lite, headquartered in Rockwood, Mich., boasts the first quadraspherical cross view mirror for the school bus with the Bus Boy. It is designed to focus upon and provide a wide-field view of the danger zone while excluding lens area that could introduce overhead glare, explained Paul Schuster of Mirror Lite.
“The more information the driver has about what’s going on around the bus, the better able to safely transport the students,” he said.
The company offers a complete line of mirrors for both the interior and exterior of the bus. All Mirror Lite products are specifically designed for the school bus market, and, as new visibility challenges have arisen with new bus models, the company has offered solutions that have been tested and well-received by school districts.
Tiger Mirror Corporation strives to provide service life for mirrors that match the life of the bus. Chromium-coated tempered glass offers up to five times the resistance to breakage in all of the company’s mirrors, said vice president of sales Jon Pietrowski. And mirrors reduce headlight glare and, unlike acrylic plastic, will not black-edge or spot.
“Tiger mirrors differ from all others because we use tempered glass lens in place of standard window glass or acrylic plastic,” he said.
“We just make some really cool stuff,” he said.
The company has also developed magnetic signs indicating the name of a school district and “Bus Empty” signs to ensure no child is left behind. And most recently, Reflective Image introduced fabric adhesive signs that are washable and durable and can be removed and reused. The new product is available in full color and popular for messages such as congratulating a school sports team.
As the global leader in reflective products since first inventing reflective sheeting in the 1930s, 3M applies its technology to a full line of high performance reflective safety marking, including Diamond Grade rolls, school bus signs and reflectors that exceed federal requirements, said communications manager Chris Welsh.
The company is the only supplier of durable fluorescent reflective material for school bus application, which makes increases the visibility of the bus particularly in winter conditions.
“3M Diamond Grade markings provide superior reflective performance under adverse conditions and challenging sight lines where a highly angular reflective materials provides a higher level of performance,” Welsh said.
“Without a doubt, the G2 system provides our students an increased safety level while loading or unloading at our bus stops,” Bjerke said.
SoundOff Signal and Speciality Manufacturing have collaborated to design a more effective stop arm. Working together as strategic business partners, engineers at both companies combined their expertise of the school bus stop arm industry and LED lighting technology.
The result is a more visible stop arm with Generation 2 (Superflux) LEDs and improved reliability that exceeds SAE lighting requirements by 200 percent. Several different flash patterns are also built into the product with the selection left up to the discretion of the operator.
“We have a better LED in there, No. 1,” said Tom Palumbo, vice president of sales and marketing. “No. 2 is we have redesigned the optic center as well, so there is a secondary lens in there to help distribute the output of the light.
At Doran Manufacturing a new red and amber marker LED has been developed as a direct replacement for older incandescent marker lights used on Thomas Built buses. Designed not only to increase visibility, the lights are built to last 100,000 hours, said general manager Scott Comisar.
Doran also has a newer version four-inch, round LED brake light with a license plate light. The benefit being that this LED illuminates instantaneously compared to incandescent bulbs.
“This improves overall safety and makes the bus more visible to other vehicles during braking,” Comisar said. “Studies have shown that LED lights provide following vehicles more than a car length of stopping distance at 60 mph due to the fact that the drivers of these vehicles react sooner as a result of the instantaneous illumination of the LED lights.”
|Last Updated on Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:36|