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Thread: School bus design - rethink for future purchases?

  1. #1

    Default School bus design - rethink for future purchases?

    For obvious reasons, is it time to rethink what style of bus is used for school transport? It seems like the current design isn't designed with the idea of driving around lots short people. ie high bumpers, no fairing on the sides...

    ...and yes, like airplanes, they are already extremely safe as is. I do however think you have to thank the drivers for a portion of that safety record - and feel sorry for the driver when some goes wrong due to, what I think, may be poor design.

    Found this US article. Very low numbers of fatalities. Of course, if it's your child that gets run over, academic discussions (i.e. survivor indifference) won't help in the slightest. Looks like sidewalks need to be redesigned for the 10' rule

    How Safe Is the School Bus? - Online Medical Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center


    "Like any form of vehicular transportation, accidents involving school buses are inevitable. Each year, about 17,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with school buses. Children can be injured when riding the bus, getting on or off the bus, or standing near the bus."


    "About 24 percent of injuries involve getting on or off the school bus, according to the CIPP report. Although an average of seven school-age passengers are killed in school bus crashes each year, 19 are killed getting on and off the bus, according to School Transportation News.

    Most of those killed are 5 to 7 years old. They are hit in the "danger zone" around the bus. This is the area 10 feet in front of the bus, 10 feet behind it and 10 feet to either side of it. The children are struck either by the school bus itself or by a passing vehicle, even though it is illegal for a vehicle to pass a bus with its red light flashing.

    More school-age pedestrians are killed in the afternoon than in the morning, with 38 percent of the fatalities occurring in crashes between 3 and 4 p.m.

    To better protect children, many bus companies have added a mechanical arm that forces a child to stay a certain distance from a bus. And some school districts have mounted cameras on their buses to record motorists who fail to stop for a school bus.

    Parents, too, can do a lot to help prevent accidents near the school bus. They can keep an eye on children waiting for the bus or departing the bus. And they can teach them several simple rules to keep them safe. Children should stay 10 feet away from the bus, or as far away as they can, and never walk behind it. They should take five giant steps in front of the bus before crossing, so they can be seen by the driver."

    Last edited by KC; 04-10-2013 at 04:19 PM.

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    School bus cameras capture motorists who 'fly by' stop signals - Edmonton - CBC News

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    Interesting interview on CBC Radio.

    If someone reads the Ford Truck forums you'll encounter discussions of "The drive from Hell", etc. when drivers take some loaded vehicles on highway trips. Usually when pulling a trailer but some comments about full loads with weight over or behind the rear wheels. Wander and sway have been attributed on the forums to heavy rear loads and/or soft rear springs. There's loads of stories about unnerving and scary drives.

    CBC interview link here:
    (Talk includes snow tire discussion, training, etc.)

    Van Angels

    The author, a former National Post reporter, is "Richard Foot" and the book is titled "DRIVEN: How the Bathurst Tragedy Ignited a Crusade for Change

    ‘Death trap’ 15-passenger vans actually as safe as any other large vehicle: report | National Post
    "The much-maligned 15-passenger van — labelled a “death trap” in the wake of several fatal crashes in Canada, including the 2008 Bathurst High School tragedy — is technically as safe as any other large passenger vehicle, according to comparison testing by Transport Canada..."

    What Church Leaders Should Know About Church Vans
    "Church leaders should be aware of two "safety advisories" issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that raise serious questions about the safety of these vehicles. Unfamiliarity with these advisories can expose a church, and the members of its board, to astronomical liability in the event of a church van accident that results in death or serious injury."

    Why are 15-passenger vans so dangerous? For many reasons, including the following:

    They are designed to carry cargo, not people, and so they do not comply with many of the basic safety requirements that apply to passenger cars or the stricter federal requirements that apply to school buses. For example, 15-passenger vans do not have flashing lights or "stop arms" that are required for school buses, and they have fewer emergency exits (the back door is blocked by the backseat in many vans).

    They become top-heavy and prone to rollovers when fully loaded or occupied.

    Most drivers do not have a commercial drivers license and have received no formal training on the use of such vehicles.

    The side windows of most 15-passenger vans are made of tempered, not laminated glass. Tempered glass is much cheaper, and since 15-passenger vans were designed to carry cargo rather than people, the vehicle manufacturers have tended to use tempered glass for side windows. The problem with tempered glass is that it is far less likely to keep occupants from being ejected in an accident than laminated glass, which contains a middle layer of plastic.

    The risk of rollover increases sharply when drivers make sudden maneuvers. This risk is quite common, since there are many conditions that may cause a driver to swerve suddenly, including something falling off a truck in front of the van, a person darting out into the street, or an animal running across the road.

    Last edited by KC; 10-01-2014 at 10:54 AM.

  4. #4


    Something else I've noted. School buses are exempt from the idling bylaw, however many of them have exhaust pipes that blow exhaust towards the curb so the short people get blasted with exhaust fumes as they pile out onto the sidewalk.

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    "a weight savings of approximately 40% over conventional metallic space frames."

    TPI to Manufacture Composite Bus Bodies for Proterra Catalyst® Zero-Emission, Battery-Electric Buses
    By GlobeNewswire, March 16, 2017,


    "...The composite structure provides a weight savings of approximately 40% over conventional metallic space frames. This lower mass body structure enables Proterra to provide its customers with industry-leading range for its battery-electric vehicles. "As transit authorities around the globe implement programs to reduce CO2 emissions, TPI is excited to be working with Proterra, the leader in zero-emission buses," said Steve Lockard, TPI's President and CEO.

    In addition to lighter weight, composite structures enable enhanced durability and reduced maintenance costs, by providing a corrosion-free solution. The bus body uses a combination of reinforcement materials and careful utilization of carbon fiber to minimize cost.

    The composite bus body will..."

    This TPI, looks like the type of company we'd love to grow in Alberta or attract to Alberta.

    site exceprt:

    TPI has manufactured over 28,000 wind blades since 2001 with an excellent field performance record in a market where reliability is critical to our customer’s success.


    For more than 5 decades TPI has been leading the industry in providing innovative composite vehicle structures to solve the complex problem of reducing weight and cost in transportation applications.
    Whether it's eliminating 300 pounds from automotive body-in-white, 7000 pounds from a transit bus body, or simply eliminating corrosion as a maintenance item, TPI can..."
    Last edited by KC; 17-03-2017 at 11:57 AM.

  6. #6


    1956 School Bus Design

    Truck Chassis & suspension, high center of gravity, no seat belts, bench seating

    60 years later...

    2016 School Bus Design

    Truck Chassis & suspension, high center of gravity, no seat belts, bench seating
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  7. #7
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Dec 2006


    Ah! All is revealed. They're actually designed like that, with that cheapo metal strip at the front. I wondered why they all look skewed and about to fall off.
    Nisi Dominus Frustra

  8. #8


    It is a pull tab...
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  9. #9


    Internal Transport Canada study showed school buses 'failed' safety tests

    Safety group alarmed warnings not shared with public

    Harvey Cashore, Kimberly Ivany, Bob McKeown · CBC News · Posted: Oct 15, 2018

    “A 2010 Transport Canada report that revealed that school buses "failed" safety tests and did not do enough to prevent "serious injuries" was kept hidden from the public, The Fifth Estate has learned.

    The study, which showed that high-backed, padded seats on school buses did nothing to help children in side-impact and rollover crashes, was marked "Internal Research Report" and was not posted on Transport Canada's website or otherwise made available to the public until The Fifth Estate asked for it last month. ...”

    “The department has yet to release the document publicly or make it available on its website.”...

    “Tylko's 50-page internal report contains photos, graphs and other crash data and comes to conclusions that differ greatfy from a 1984 Transport Canada study that said belts could be harmful to students.

    Yet to this day, Transport Canada continues to insist on its website that there is "no evidence" that seatbelts would prevent injuries.”...

    No need for seatbelts on school buses, says Transport Canada
    School buses have good safety record, says federal agency

    Kevin Yarr · CBC News · Posted: Jul 13, 2018
    Last edited by KC; 15-10-2018 at 03:17 PM.


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