With both of our Thomas and International school buses having an automatic external light check drivers can check lights without assistance while walking around performing a pre-trip. With the ignition key on accessory and the push of a button anyone can do it.
The software engineers were thinking when they developed this system. The drawbacks are the back up lights, stop signs and front cross gate do not work during the light test. The LED lights are checked period. Running the light operating system is still a good idea.
The amber pre-warning lights will come on while coming up to a stop. On IC buses the switch on the steering wheel activates the ambers and when the entrance door is opened at a stop the red warning lights come on along with the crossgate at the front bumper and the two stop signs.
The red warning lights tell traffic it’s time to stop well before passing the bus on the road. Students will be getting on and off the bus and there’s a good chance one or more will cross the street or highway. In a perfect world if the public knows the traffic laws and stop when a school bus activates the warning lights there would be no issues.
Unfortunately traffic is driving through the red warning lights on a daily basis in our school district. They do not want to take the time to stop and interrupt their schedule or they do not know the traffic laws. The chances of a student (someone’s son or daughter) getting hurt or killed escalate because of the ignorance of a few bad drivers.
So the rules are with pre-trips…if any of the stop and load components such as the 8 light warning system, crossgate and stop signs do not function the bus is out of service. The driver must not take the bus out of the yard until the problem is fixed.
This is a no brainer. I read a story about a school district that had a bus with a faulty stop sign. It was not coming out and lighting up. The driver was told to drive the bus anyway and that day a student was killed crossing the road while the bus was stopped with the warning system activated. There were criminal convictions slapped against employees at the bus garage maintaining this bus.
It’s not worth taking a chance just to save time pre-tripping a spare bus. Not much of an inconvenience considering what could happen. The bus driver is responsible for the bus to a certain degree. The driver has to report defects on the pre-trip paperwork.
If the defect is documented and forwarded to the garage then the responsibility is put into their hands. Luckily we have spare buses to hand out so no gets stressed out missing a run. Anything safety related has to be dealt with…. no exceptions.