DARLINGTON, S.C. — A school transportation director here has created an innovative yet simple product to help prevent sleeping students from being left on school buses.
Eddie McKenzie, director of transportation for Darlington County School District, conceived the new Double Check Child/Safety System, which is a flag made of reflective molded polymer material that can be secured at the back of the bus.
At the end of a run, the driver walks to the back, checking for children, and then releases the flag so it hangs in the window. Supervisors and others on the outside can then see that the bus has been inspected.
Before a run, the driver walks to the back as part of the pre-trip inspection and then raises the flag, positioning it in its keyhole securement above the window. Then, as the bus leaves the parking lot, supervisors can see that the flag is not visible in the window, again confirming that the bus has been inspected.
“I created the flag concept after observing bus drivers' attempts to attach temporary paper reminders on the back interior wall of buses to prompt them to search the bus for children left behind, and after seeing these reminders lying on the bus floor or missing," McKenzie said. "I knew we needed something consistent, permanent, inexpensive, and easy to install and use that provided supervisors a simple way to verify that every driver had completed their bus check.”
The Double Check flag includes three plastic washers and accompanying self-tapping screws. The washers and flag are manufactured as a single piece.
Donald Tudor, former state pupil transportation director for South Carolina, has been working on the launch of the Double Check system. He said its key advantage is its simplicity.
"The product is unique in that it is nearly indestructible, inexpensive, easy to install, has no electronic components to fail, and requires the driver to check the school bus every time a route is started or ended," Tudor said, noting that it costs less than $30.
Double Check has been shown at recent industry trade shows, and it's now being distributed by Heavy Duty Bus Parts, Bus Parts Warehouse and Unity School Bus Parts.
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