Test Program Incorporates Driver Alert Lighting System to Enhance Student Safety on School Buses

In a Michigan test, Safe Fleet Bus and Rail provides its Driver Alert Device to school districts in an effort to improve student and motorist safety.

Charlotte, NC (October 2015) – Spurred by a 2011 accident in which two siblings were fatally injured in a rear-end collision with a stopped school bus, the state of Michigan is conducting a pilot program that places a Driver Alert Lighting System on the back of school buses. The high visibility LED display is being tested to determine if it can help reduce the number of unsafe pass-bys.

The 2011 incident prompted Michigan Representative Holly Hughes to collaborate with the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation to introduce HB 5507, a bill that requires enhanced warning lighting on the rear door/backside of school buses. Rep. Hughes also pointed to a 2013 study in which 1,395 Michigan school bus drivers reported 1,165 pass-bys on a single day.

The result of the legislation is a pilot program being tested in 10 school districts. The districts spent the first phase of the pilot test collecting data on drivers who ignored traditional lights and bus-mounted “Stop” signs, opting to “pass-by” the bus. The second phase includes installing the Driver Alert system to determine if it can help reduce the amount of pass-bys and improve driver behavior.

Safe Fleet Bus and Rail has provided 40 Driver Alert devices for the program. The device is installed on the rear door. The display flashes “Caution” and “Stopping” when the overhead amber lights are activated. Once stopped, the display flashes “Stop” and “Do Not Pass” after the bus is stopped and the stop arm is deployed. In addition to these functions, the device flashes “Caution Stopping” when the hazard lights are activated at railroad crossings and “Caution” when the bus is backing up.

The Driver Alert is in use in many other states. Jim Haigh, Transit Account Manager for Safe Fleet Bus and Rail, hopes the pilot program enhances student and motorist safety.

“We’re very proud to participate in any program that can increase bus and student safety,” Haigh says. “We’re hopeful this solution can save lives, reduce accidents, and improve public safety.”

Data from the study will be made available before the end of the year after it has been reviewed by the Michigan State Police and school transportation departments.

About Safe Fleet Bus and Rail

Safe Fleet Bus & Rail is home to multiple brands that enhance passenger and pedestrian safety. The portfolio includes: Specialty Manufacturing, Transpec, and Pretoria. The company is the leading manufacturer of stop and crossing arms for school buses. In addition, it manufactures a variety of products for transit buses and rail cars including: emergency escape hatches, LED lighting, custom ducting, and mirrors.

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, the company enjoys a vast network of distributors that provide service and aftermarket parts. For more information please visit www.smiglobal.net and www.pretoriausa.com. To learn about the additional brands owned by Safe Fleet Bus & Rail’s parent company, visit www.safefleet.net.

Cameron Blain
Marketing Manager
(800) 827-3692