School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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52 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 A tragic school van accident in China in 2011 has spurred the country to make chang- es to increase school trans- portation safety. The accident involved a van rated for nine passengers. In this case, the vehicle was loaded with 62 kindergar- ten students, the driver and a teach- er. The van hit a dump truck head-on; 19 students, the driver and the teach- er were killed. The person responsi- ble for the safety of the school vehicle received seven years in the Chinese penitentiary. At the end of the 2013-14 school year, Dr. James Wang from the Chongqing Jiaotong University invited us to pres- ent school bus safety information pro- grams to university students and gov- ernment representatives in Chongqing, the "Mountain City" of China. The meeting was part of their Pro- duction Safety Activities Month, which focused on ways to improve safety for their yellow school buses. Extreme growth China is in the unique position of ex- periencing a transportation boom that is diffcult to visualize. In the U.S., we have approximately 480,000 school buses, and China needs to build 1.2 million total school buses. By 2015, they plan to build 50,000 school buses and create improved rules and regu- lations (focusing on school bus opera- tions, driver training, vehicle mainte- nance, etc.) for their 34 provinces. Looking back on U.S. history, our school bus founding fathers must have struggled in 1938 when organizing the 1939 national standards conference. Trying to organize a transportation sys- tem in its infancy must have been a for- midable challenge within the U.S. with A fatal school van crash in China in 2011 confrmed the need for stronger safety measures in transporting students. Industry veterans from the U.S. are sharing their expertise with Chinese counterparts, but the country's vast population, extreme traffc congestion and other factors present obstacles to implementing an American-style yellow bus system. BY PETER LAWRENCE AND DICK FISCHER a population of approximately 130.9 million people at the time. Now imagine about 1.1 billion more people in China (approximate popu- lation of 1.2 billion) assembling rep- resentatives across their 34 provinces to discuss school bus standards, try- ing to come to a consensus. Some may have never seen a yellow school bus in person before. Moving forward During our trip to China, we spoke at a conference on school bus safety and presented school bus information to local law enforcement offcials, Chi- nese education offcials and students who were studying civil engineering at Chongqing Jiaotong University. We discussed school bus transporta- tion in the U.S., school bus regulations, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Stan- dards, school bus procedures, China Faces Challenges in Bolstering School Bus Safety iStock © bjdlzx

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