Those in the school transportation industry are aware that school buses in North America are compliant with either U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Additional safety tests beyond the federal standards are available — and are required in some states and provinces.
Blue Bird Corp. announced recently that it offers the Colorado Rack Test and the Kentucky Pole Test specifications as standard features. Company officials said that Blue Bird is the only school bus manufacturer to provide both tests standard on its conventional and transit-style school buses.
After a 1971 school bus rollover crash in Gunnison, Colo., the Colorado Rack Test was developed to test structural integrity in the event of a school bus rollover. The test simulates a rollover crash by applying a constant load along the full length of the school bus body.
For Colorado Rack compliance, the test requires that two prescribed cycles of load be applied to the bow immediately above the passenger windows. During testing, the bus structure cannot deflect more than 5-1/8 inches when measured diagonally, and all emergency exits must be functional after the test. Blue Bird officials said that the company meets this requirement as a standard feature on its All American and Vision bus lines.
The Kentucky Pole Test was developed by the Kentucky Governor’s Task Force on School Bus Safety with assistance from Blue Bird’s engineering test department in 1989. During the test, a school bus rollover is simulated with an 8-inch diameter pole impacting the roof with enough force to cause the roof to bend into the passenger compartment between 8 and 10 inches.
Throughout this test, the body panels cannot separate. While the test was developed for the state of Kentucky, it is utilized by multiple North American states and provinces as a required specification.
“Blue Bird’s school buses are widely regarded as the most durable in the industry," said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. "Standard compliance with the Colorado Rack Test and the Kentucky Pole Test reinforces our commitment to ensuring our buses meet the highest level of safety standards" and is "an example of Blue Bird’s commitment to going the extra mile for the passengers that we transport.”