Indiana school tests new school bus technology to improve overall safety

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (WTTV) - Reports across America say that 17 children have been killed in school bus loading and unloading accidents.

Three of those children were killed in Indiana. Now, one central Indiana school district is experimenting with a new bus safety system to reduce the danger.

Russ McQuaid got a look at the new technology and takes us inside.

If only there had been a system like this...."Stop, get back." on a school bus in Rochester last year when a young driver allegedly blew through the vehicle`s traditional stop sign and killed three children and injured another.

"I do a lot of housing additions so sometimes there is a lot of cars that will pass by and run my stop arms," said Robin Hall, bus driver.

It's estimated nationwide last year school buses loading and offloading kids were illegally passed 84,000 times putting the lives of those children in danger.

In Clark Pleasant Schools where Robin Hall drives it happens to her at least once a week.

"It is very common for the high schoolers not even to be looking at me, they`re just looking at their phones and carrying it and even texting while they`re getting on to the bus," Robin Hill, bus driver.

Clark Pleasant is one of five school districts across the country testing the predictive stop arm system

"We`re using radar technology and predictive algorithms to monitor the speed and distance of an oncoming vehicle and determine the level of threat to report to the student and driver to step back from the street," said Chris Akiyama of Safe Fleet, "it will look out up to 300 yards and detect an oncoming vehicle. It`ll then calculate its speed and distance and be able to report to the driver or student when that vehicle is not going to stop."

The system also looks out for kids when the bus is sitting still in a parking lot.

"There`s a danger zone on the bus which is when you walk out the bus in that area beside the bus it also will tell us if there`s a kid standing in that danger zone before we move on," said Bob Downin, the transportation director at Clark Pleasant Schools.

Clark Pleasant school is ready to outfit seven new buses with the predictive stop arm system this fall.


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