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Plymouth School Buses have New Safety Equipment

February 12, 2014

  02/13/14 The Plymouth School buses are on the roads every school day for some 6,500 miles over 31 bus routes and nine double routes. Now with installations of the latest safety technology equipment, drivers will have even more ways to help keep kids protected.

Last week, the Director of Transportation, Rick Scott, and the Director of Safety and Security, James Phillips, demonstrated the features of the equipment that has been installed on the buses of the Plymouth fleet.

According to Superintendent Daniel Tyree, the buses had been equipped with the best safety measures available when they were last updated only a few years ago, but the newest advances in safety means more protection for both students and drivers.

Updated equipment included the installation three video/audio cameras on each bus, panic buttons, GPS systems, and rear deactivation buttons.

Referring to an event when a child was accidentally left on a bus last December, Tyree said, “The equipment we demonstrated today was on our list of purchases at the beginning of the year. This was something we felt was needed to be done to protect our students.” He added, “This was a proactive not a reactive one to an incident that happened just before Christmas.”

In late 2013, Phillips had presented a complete listing of safety and security needs to the Plymouth School Board that he had complied after an extensive assessment following his hire in July of last year. Updated bus safety equipment was listed in that report.

Within seconds after a bus is started and the brake is touched , an audio reminder is given to drivers that a Child Check-Mate System is turned on. As each child enters or exists the bus, there is a video recording that can be reviewed quickly if needed. When the bus is turned off, a series of short beeps is activated as a remainder to drivers to walk back of the bus, while checking each seat, to deactivate the system. If the rear button is not pushed within seconds, the bus horn is activated and continues to sound until the rear button is released. Philips said, “It brings a mental focus back to checking.”

According to Phillips, the GPS system allows security personnel to locate the exact location of a bus in the event of an emergency.

Tyree said there is a tremendous amount of responsibility placed on the Transportation Department staff. He said, “The service that Rick and Transportation provides is extensive.” Scott said there are some weeks when there are 400 or more alternate stops requested by parents for their children. Tyree requested that alternate city bus stops be publicized last week when it becomes apparent that snow and ice on sidewalks would force kids to walk on the street in some city areas. Tyree said, “We have to make sure kids can get to bus stops or able to walk to school safely. “

Mayor Mark Senter issued a press release this week reminding residents that there is a city ordinance on keeping sidewalks clear. However, residents have 24 hours after snow or ice has fallen to remove the obstructions, so children walking early in the mornings may have difficulties.

According to Phillips, the GPS system allows security personnel to locate the exact location of a bus in the event of an emergency.

Carol Anders Correspondent