The Baldwinsville School District is working to outfit all of its buses with additional red warning lights as an extra safety measure.
Right now, all school buses have red warning lights at the top of the buses, about 10 feet higher than the supplemental lights.
The new lights are installed just above the front and rear bumpers of a bus and activate when the school bus’s stop arm is deployed, in conjunction with the existing red-flashing warning lights.
These additional lights shine directly in a motorist’s line of vision, so drivers are more likely to see the lights and stop before children board or disembark from a bus.
Dana Nelson is the Assistant Transportation Supervisor for the Baldwinsville School District. He says almost every day at least one of his buses is passed illegally.
“Thank goodness there’s been no injuries or anything worse than that but there have been some close calls.” Nelson tells NewsChannel 9.
The idea for the additional lights Nelson says comes from a 6-month pilot program in Ohio which showed the extra warning signals led to a 50% reduction in illegal passing of school buses.
“Their estimation was the fact that people aren’t necessarily doing it deliberately but they’re doing it by not knowing the bus is coming to a complete stop and the lights are being placed at eye level.” Nelson says.
He estimates the district makes nearly 100 runs everyday transporting thousands of students so he says the cost of $350 to $400 and 3-hours of labor for every bus to get the new lights is well worth it.
“That’s very minimal for the safety of our students.” Nelson says.
Right now about a dozen buses have the new warning lights. Nelson says mechanics will continue installing them until every one of over 100 buses has the new warning lights.
He estimates the entire fleet should have them by January or February.