If you’ve decided that it’s time to install a system on your buses to remind — or force — drivers to do their “walk-backs,” you have several options, ranging from home-made placards to place in the buses’ back windows to sophisticated electronic devices that sound an alarm if the driver fails to walk to the back of the vehicle. To that end, we’ve profiled four electronic systems, one manual system and an experimental system not yet available to the public (see sidebar). Please keep in mind, however, that none of these systems can replace a good driver training program. These systems are only as effective as the people running them, so make sure your staff members are conscientious and well prepared.

The Child Check-Mate Safety System

Child Check-Mate System
P.O. Box 70
Navan, Ontario K4B 1J3
Contact: Bob Moran
e-mail: sales@childcheckmate.com
Website: www.childcheckmate.com

Price: $49.95 to $89.95 per unit
Warranty: 5 years, extended warranties are available

  • Master alarm unit and color-coded wire harness
  • Rear vehicle transmitter
  • Rear-door emergency lever with four-wire hookup (RVT-4W)
  • Surface-mount rest button with two-wire hookup (RVT-2W)

    The main alarm unit (MAU) — a microprocessor-based alarm system — is mounted in the electrical panel at the front of the bus near the driver. Each MAU comes with a color-coded “quick connect” wire harness that is designed to fit generically with all bus types. There are no wires to be fished, and only six wires to connect. There are two rear-vehicle transmitter models, which offer different methods of system deactivation. Basically, one model is for conventional buses with rear emergency exit doors, while the other is designed to accommodate rear-engine transit-style buses. The RVT-4W is wired directly into the rear-door interlock housing and uses the rear emergency door lever as its method of system deactivation. This unit can be installed adjacent to or within the housing itself, space permitting. The RVT-2W is wired directly to the furthest rear buzzer on the bus and uses the surface-mount button as its method of system deactivation. This unit is generally mounted above the furthest rear seat on the driver’s side of the bus. Operation:
    The system becomes “armed” once the overhead lights have been activated, indicating to the system that children have boarded. The system remains active until every child has disembarked. Once the driver completes the route, he must return to the rear of the bus in order to deactivate the system. Because the system is activated by the overhead flashers, it allows the driver to stop and go freely about his business prior to or after scheduled runs without the need to return to the back of the bus every time the ignition is turned off. In the event that the driver forgets to conduct a check, and attempts to leave the bus before disarming the system, an alarm will be activated as soon as the key is turned off. This alarm simply reminds the driver that he must return to the back of the bus to deactivate the alarm, thus ensuring that a proper check for children has been performed along the way. Should the driver, for whatever reason, ignore the initial alarm and leave the bus, the system will initiate a second alarm after one minute, causing the horn to sound. The alarm is deactivated by raising the rear emergency-door lever slightly (or pressing the surface-mount reset button on rear-engine buses). An audible signal alerts the driver that the system has been successfully disarmed. For a free sample, call Child Check-Mate System at 877/494-8222.

    The Child Reminder (CR2A)

    CRS Electronics
    44 Michigan St.
    Welland, Ontario L3B 3A4
    Contact: Scott Riesebosch
    e-mail: info@crselectronics.com
    Website: www.crselectronics.com

    Price: $40/unit
    Warranty: 1 year

  • Control module
  • Wiring harness
  • LED with wire and plug
  • Notice sticker
  • 1-Amp diodes
  • 6-Amp diodes Installation:
    All connections for the front module are made within the space behind the accessory panel. Route the horn wire a short distance from the panel to the base of the steering column. Mount the LED in a location that can easily be seen by the driver while he is in the driver’s seat. The notice sticker should be located near the LED. There is no need to run wires to the back of bus or to mount a separate unit in the back. The system runs on the existing bus wiring. Operation:
    The system monitors all exit doors of the bus, “trapping” the driver in the vehicle until he has deactivated the system. When the ignition is turned off, the interior lights and red LED illuminate. The driver must walk to the rear of the bus and open the emergency exit door to deactivate the system. No alarm will go off unless the driver attempts to leave before deactivating the system. When the rear door has been opened, the interior lights will flash twice, indicating that the system is disarmed. The interior lights and LED will turn off in approximately 25 seconds. Should the driver turn off the bus and open the service door without deactivating the system, the horn will sound. Turning on the accessory power is the only way to cancel the alarm once it sounds. The CR2A uses microprocessor chip technology and can be altered to fit the customer’s needs (timer, alternate means of deactivation, etc.).

    K.I.D.S. (Kids Interior Detection System)

    K.I.D.S. Safety Systems
    P.O. Box 365
    Warwick, NY 10990
    Contact: Joseph Giordano
    e-mail: kidssafe@kidssafetysystems.com
    Website: www.kidssafetysystems.com

    Price: call for quote
    Warranty: 5 years

  • Front module with eight color-coded wires
  • Service switch key
  • Cutoff switch key
  • Decal for front of bus to remind driver
  • Bumper sticker, “This bus is equipped with K.I.D.S.”

    Wire the front control module into the console to the left of the driver. Included in the wiring is a horn relay, enabling the horn to take as much as 100 amps. (Some horns can handle as little as 15 amps and will be overloaded and blown by the system without a relay). Open the channel that runs above the bus door to the back of the bus and feed the wire through, bringing it to the rear. Drill a hole in the back of the bus, push the button through, bring the wire down from the channel and connect it to the button. The system is grounded using a second wire. The button can be replaced with a key-mechanism if the customer prefers. Operation:
    When the driver turns the bus on, a green light on the front console notifies him that the system is working. A red light illuminates if the system is not working. As soon as the driver turns off the ignition, the alarm sequence is initiated. The driver has 30 seconds to deactivate the system by either turning the bus back on or by going to the back of the bus and pushing the button at the rear. If he fails to do so, the running lights on the sides of the bus and the horn will go off and on every second. To deactivate the alarm, the driver must push the button at the back of the bus. If a customer requires more than 30 seconds for his drivers to check the bus, he can order K.I.D.S. systems programmed for lengthier relays. The system also has a service switch on the front console so that mechanics and other personnel authorized to have service keys can turn the system off while they work on the bus. By adding a couple of wires, using the same software, the system can be linked to the bus’ LED and the green and red lights on the console will let the driver know if his LED is functioning as well.

    Genuine Bus-Scan

    Child Finder System
    Robotics Technologies Inc.
    20655 Burl Court
    Joliet, IL 60433
    Contact: David Forbes
    Website: www.roboticstech.com

    Price: $65-$99/unit
    Warranty: 1 year parts and labor replacement

  • Front control module with five wires
  • Rear control module: 3 options
    • Pushbutton switch (for buses with a spare wire running to the back or on which it’s easy to run a wire to the back)
    • Wireless remote
    • Connector for rear door

    The front control module is wired into the console, near the driver’s area. The rear control modules are installed as follows (depending on the one the customer chooses): Pushbutton switch – Run a wire from the front of the bus to the back (or use an existing wire if there is one). Drill a hole in the back of the bus and connect the button to the wire coming from the front. Wireless remote – Bolt the remote to the back of bus and signals will be sent to it from the front of the bus without wires. Emergency door – Mounts onto the back door switch and functions using existing wiring. Operation:
    The system can be tied to either the ignition switch or the running lights, depending on the customer’s preference. When the ignition or running lights are turned off, a buzzer and red LED activate, telling the driver that he has one minute to deactivate the system before the horn starts to honk. To deactivate, the driver must walk to the back of the bus and either push a button or open the emergency door, depending on rear module installed. With the emergency door module, it is not possible for the driver to deactivate the system from outside of the bus. If the door is ajar when the bus is turned off, the alarm will sound and the driver will have to deactivate the system properly. The Bus-Scan also has a service override switch on the front console that allows personnel authorized with keys to disable the system during servicing. A green LED light indicates the system is in “service” mode. The override key cannot be removed until the system is put back on active status.

    Bus Empty Sign

    Reflective Image
    74605 Main Road
    Greenport, NY 11944
    Contact: Kristin Von Eiff

    Price: one-sided: $10.50/each; two-sided: $12.50/each

  • White plastic signs, 9 inches wide by 7.75 inches high. One-sided sign says “bus empty” in red lettering. Two-sided sign has “in use” in black lettering on the back. Signs can be customized for specific district requirements.
  • Two suction cups for each sign.

    At the end of a route, the driver must walk to the back of the bus and hang the one-sided “bus empty” sign in the back window or flip the two-sided sign from “in use” to “bus empty.” With the two-sided sign, the suction cups can remain adhered to the window and the sign can be detached, turned around and reattached.