Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Fwd: School Buses Found Safer Than Vans
Fwd: School Buses Found Safer Than Vans
Tue, 8 Jun 1999 20:06:29 EDT
Thought this may be of interest to Scout Troops who rent vans. Our Troop has
owned two different school buses since 1981. With the first bus we traveled
60,000 miles between 1981 and 1993, through all 49 continental states, all 10
Canadian Provinces, the Yukon and Northwest Territory. In 1997 we bought a
newer bus to replace our first bus and hope to accomplish the same by 2003.
This summer we are traveling to Newfoundland and Labrador to attend their
Provincal Jamboree and to tour the Province. When we got our first bus our
Council tried to talk us out it and suggested we rent several vans instead.
The problem with this, in addition to the safety issues (described in the
forwarded message below), is that with several vans you are less likely to
have a relief driver for each vehicle. Also there is the issue of insurance.
Most people would think that their credit card would cover the collision
damage wavier, but if you call the credit card company you will find that
most companies only cover the CDW for passenger cars or mini vans. The
insurance on the vehicle reverts back to the insurance of who ever is
driving. Yes, we do need to have drivers with a Commercial Drivers License
(CDL) with a passenger endorsement, but that has not been a problem for us.
The privilege of owning a bus has it's responsibilities, particularly when it
comes to maintenance. We have a check list two pages long of items we check
every day before we use the bus. We check and maintain our bus better than
most people maintain their cars.
Scoutmaster, Troop 64
In a message dated 6/8/1999 3:50:48 PM Eastern Daylight Time, AOL News writes:
<< School Buses Found Safer Than Vans
.c The Associated Press By GLEN JOHNSON
WASHINGTON (AP) -- School districts might save money using vans instead of
school buses to transport students, but it's ``an economical advantage
purchased at the safety of children,'' the head of a federal safety panel
Wrapping up a special investigation into four crashes involving
``nonconforming buses,'' Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation
Safety Board, said the standard yellow bus provides better crash protection
than vans and should be the only type of vehicle used to take students to
school and school-related activities.
The crashes that were the subject of the investigation occurred in 1998
earlier this year in Sweetwater, Fla., Lenoir City, Tenn., East Dublin, Ga.,
and Bennettsville, S.C. They killed nine people, including eight students.
Investigators said the vehicle damage would have been less and the
not as severe had the accidents involved school buses, not a van or a
``specialty bus'' -- a slightly larger vehicle akin to an airport rental car
School buses, unlike standard passenger vans, have special rollover
protections and encase their occupants in a cocoon of padded seats and
seatbacks. They also have welds designed to keep them from splitting open on
In addition, school buses are painted an eye-catching yellow and
with emergency exits, special warning lights and movable arms that block
students from walking directly in front of them. Many of the protections date
from a 1977 change in federal law, which was prompted by earlier
recommendations from the safety board.
A ``nonconforming bus'' is any vehicle that can carry 10 or more people
is used to take students to school or school-related activities, yet does not
meet federal school bus standards.
Federal law prohibits car dealers from selling vehicles that do not meet
federal school bus regulations to schools that plan to use them to transport
However, many states have exemptions in their school bus laws for
after-school, day care or church programs. Even the federal government has
lagged in developing rules for transporting children involved in such things
as Head Start, the early-childhood education program.
The worst accident examined by the safety board occurred on Feb. 16 in
Bennettsville, S.C. Six children were killed -- including three who were
thrown outside the vehicle -- when the 15-passenger van they were riding in
was struck by a tow truck.
On March 26, 1998, a 25-passenger speciality bus taking students home
an academic competition was rammed by a tractor-trailer in Lenoir City,
Tenn., when the van's driver attempted a U-turn on a highway. A teacher and a
student were killed.
The East Dublin, Ga., accident occurred on Dec. 8, 1998, when a
van taking children to a Head Start program collided with a pickup truck. One
child was ejected and killed.
Another 15-person van was involved in the Sweetwater, Fla., accident,
it was struck by a transit bus at an intersection on March 25, 1998. Three
children were ejected and suffered head injuries.
The five-member board only has the power to make safety recommendations,
rules. In a unanimous vote, the board urged the nation's governors to ensure
that students are transported only in vehicles meeting the school bus
The board also urged the Department of Health and Human Services to
the same protection to children participating in Head Start.
``The federal government needs to practice what it preaches and it needs
start with Head Start,'' Hall said.
AP-NY-06-08-99 1549EDT Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information
contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or otherwise distributed without prior written authority of The Associated