Better School Bus Flashing Lights Needed

September 2nd, 2020 by admin Leave a reply »

Each year we hear about a lot of accidents where vehicles have rear-ended buses who are parked at their stops with people attempting to board the buses. Sometimes these buses are School Buses without children aboard. One recent think tank participant mentioned this after reading in the local paper of three such incidents involving city buses in a two-week period. That is just to many accidents to accept.

Having been in the bus washing business along with other types of transportation vehicles for some 27-years this has always concerned me as well. I think this is especially happening in places with visual sensory perception overload, all the signs and lights drown out the carbon stained flashing bus tail lights. People who are driving are looking around at everything else and those lights are dull because of the soot build-up on the backs of buses from the diesel fuel smoke. I remember the bus washing contracts we always had to put extra care into cleaning them, other wise you could not see these lights very well.

It seems the flashing lights are a smart idea, yet perhaps there should be some moving parts back there on the buses too, you see moving objects attract the eye and thus all the local signage competing for the attention of the brain and the eye are not able to compete with innate characteristics to notice and register motion and moving objects you see? So be thinking on this in 2006.

Update: On September 2, 2016 it was noted that in Texas some 100,000 incidents of motorists were caught on bus cameras ignoring Bus lights saying “Stop” and it was also revealed that some 25-50 students are struck and killed in TX due to this problem each year. Sometimes it is the student’s fault but more often people running the warning lights on the sides of the buses. In a strict enforcement of this problem the Great State of Texas has gone ahead and wrote 10,000 tickets already and school only restarted from the summer last week. Will it work?

The Department of Transportation says it should and the media coverage also helps, the message of ’slow down’ appears to be working, now if we can get folks to stop text-messaging while driving even more pedestrians can be spared including some of our children. The DOT said; “It’s not just Texas where we have a problem, this is a nationwide challenge.”


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