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Exclusive interview: NHTSA chief David Strickland
June 21, 2012
On Strickland’s watch, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has publicly supported the safety record of the yellow bus and has launched a campaign to promote ridership. In an interview with SBF, the administrator discusses these topics and reaffirms the agency’s decision to not mandate seat belts on large school buses.
Tags: NHTSA
Fundraiser for verbally abused bus monitor raises $290K
June 21, 2012
A student uses a cell phone to film the profane taunting of bus monitor Karen Klein and posts the video online. The video goes viral, and an online fundraising effort is developed to send Klein on vacation.
School bus joyrider causes $10K in damage
June 21, 2012
An unknown suspect steals buses from the Mercer County Schools bus yard in Harrodsburg, Ky., on three different occasions. School officials take extra security measures after the first theft, but are unable to stop the subsequent thefts.
Maine School Administrative District #37 bus driver Clara Anne Freeman practices evacuating a bus via the side window emergency exit as part of a new training initiative. At left is driver Patricia Thaxter, and driver Darlene Stubbs is holding the window open.   
District launches new bus evacuation training effort
June 21, 2012
The transportation staff at Maine School Administrative District #37 in Harrington incorporates side window emergency exit evacuation into its training following an accident wherein the rear exit of a bus became unusable. Director of Transportation Dawn Coffin tells SBF that the bus drivers learned safe techniques for this type of evacuation, and the district hopes to begin the training with students in the upcoming school year.
David Ruback, president of REI, passes away
June 20, 2012
Ruback lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last month at the age of 56. Company officials say Ruback, who joined the company in 1987 and was promoted to president in 1998, was instrumental in REI’s growth and commitment to service.
Ala. bus drivers required to complete physical exam
June 20, 2012
Under legislation signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley, drivers must successfully complete the exam by a licensed physician, at their own expense, by Aug. 14 in order to operate a school bus. Drivers may be “grandfathered” for any condition if the doctor states that it will not adversely affect their ability to control and safely operate a school bus.
1 of Chowchilla kidnappers to be released
June 19, 2012
Prison officials say that Richard Schoenfeld, who was among the three convicted in the infamous 1976 school bus kidnapping in California, will get out on parole this month.
Financial export added to fleet management software
June 19, 2012
Arsenault Associates’ FinanceLink, part of its Dossier version 6.2, allows users to easily export parts purchasing data to business systems for payment and reconciliation.
Rolling pit jack operates on pit floor
June 19, 2012
Stertil-Koni USA’s free-standing rolling pit jack has a capacity of 30,000 pounds, and lifting is done by an air driven, fully hydraulic pump actuated by tandem foot pedals. The company offers two models: The FPJ-150-F is fitted with a fixed vertical piston, and the FPJ-150-U has a vertical piston that moves side to side.
3 teens damage 31 buses in contractor's yard
June 19, 2012
Two of the boys are arrested and charged with burglary and vandalism, while another is on the run, for breaking into the bus yard and crashing buses into one another. The company estimates the damage at $200,000.
Tags: vandalism
Okla. high schoolers to ride transit buses for free
June 18, 2012
Under the program approved by the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority board, students enrolled in Oklahoma City Public Schools’ academies can use the Metro buses at no charge, including for non-school activities. Metro and school buses will work in concert to transport the students.
Tags: Oklahoma
Durham wins Wash., Ore. contracts
June 18, 2012
The contractor will serve Newport (Wash.) School District and St. Helens Public Schools in Portland under five-year agreements that will begin in July for the upcoming school year. Durham will operate 78 routes for Newport and 28 routes for St. Helens.
Footage of an illegal passer nearly striking a West Virginia boy is being used for public education and driver training.
Bus stop near-miss makes for powerful lesson
June 18, 2012
Footage of an illegal passer nearly striking a West Virginia boy leaving his school bus is being used for public education and driver training. And the state has a variety of other initiatives that are helping to crack down on stop-arm running.
New bus drivers in La. won't get tenure
June 14, 2012
Previously, Louisiana school bus operators attained the job protection after passing a three-year probationary term. Under newly enacted legislation, drivers hired on or after July 1 of this year won’t be eligible for tenure.
New partnership takes aim at stop-arm running
June 14, 2012
Under the agreement, American Traffic Solutions’ automated School Bus Stop Arm Enforcement Solution CrossingGuard will be powered by AngelTrax’s IntelliGuard Stop Arm Enforcement Camera System. AngelTrax President Richie Howard says that the companies’ system “will help raise awareness in our communities of illegal school bus stop arm running and potentially save children’s lives.”
Brake block meets reduced stopping distance requirements
June 14, 2012
Federal Mogul's new Abex commercial vehicle drum brake block includes three application-specific formulations engineered to enhance overall performance. It is manufactured for enhanced resistance to cracking, according to the company.
Seon introduces 8-channel mobile DVR
June 14, 2012
The Explorer TX8 gives bus operators features like geo-fencing and a built-in G-sensor for AVL integration and monitoring driver behavior. The DVR also features up to two TB of storage capacity, and officials say it is GPS- and WiFi-ready and also offers full compatibility with Seon’s vMax software suite.
Durham awarded 3-year contract
June 14, 2012
Durham School Services will operate 97 home-to-school routes and 109 buses for Rochester (Mich.) Community Schools starting in July. The company reportedly plans to hire as many of the district's drivers, monitors, mechanics and staff as possible, and officials say the contract will save the district approximately $4.7 million over the three-year period.
Chris Darling is director of operations at Fort Dodge Community School District, where he has overseen the transportation, maintenance and custodial departments.
Veteran Iowa director Chris Darling to retire
June 14, 2012
Chris Darling, director of operations at Fort Dodge Community School District, will leave his post next week after 21 years with the district and more than 27 years in the industry. He discusses his career with SBF, including changes he implemented at the district. Friend and colleague Max Christensen, Iowa’s state director of pupil transportation, weighs in on Darling’s contributions to the industry.
Tags: Iowa
Security consultant to present at NAPT Summit
June 13, 2012
Bret E. Brooks is a senior consultant with Gray Ram Tactical LLC who has worked in the security and safety fields since 1998. He is also a former SWAT team member and a full-time police officer, and he has worked with school districts for nearly a decade.

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