CALGARY, Alberta — Keeping school buses within the speed limit to reduce safety risks is the goal of a technology that is being introduced to the pupil transportation industry.
Magtec Products Inc., a Calgary-based vehicle control systems developer, is now offering its SafeSpeed technology for school buses. The device uses GPS to automatically limit vehicle speed in real time according to posted speed limits.
The company’s idea to apply its speed-limiting technology — already in use for trucking fleets — to school buses came after hearing of the fatal crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2016. Investigators said that the school bus driver in that crash was speeding.
“We know the best way to keep kids safe is to keep school buses within posted speed limits, so we adapted our intelligent commercial vehicle technology in order to do that,” said Bob Morisset, president and CEO of Magtec Products Inc. “Kids are really our most precious cargo, and that’s why SafeSpeed in school buses is such a logical fit.”
Magtec conducted a test pilot in a Canadian city, monitoring the speeding trends of 10 school buses before and after activating SafeSpeed. According to the company, for a period of one week before activating the device, the buses had:
• 702 speed events of 10-plus km/hour (about 6 mph) over the speed limit.
• 301 speed events of 15-plus km/hour (about 9 mph) over the speed limit.
• 102 speed events of 25-plus km/hour (about 16 mph) over the speed limit.
Here are the results for one week after activating SafeSpeed on the 10 buses, according to the company:
• 71 speed events of 10-plus km/hour over the speed limit (a 90% reduction).
• 11 speed events of 15-plus km/hour over the speed limit (a 96% reduction).
• Zero speed events of 25-plus km/hr over the speed limit.
“The pilot showed us that more school buses than you might think are speeding,” Morisset said. “Drivers face a lot of pressure to meet schedules, but we know the only way to consistently and reliably reduce speed is by preventing acceleration over posted speed limits.”
Morisset said that the cost to add SafeSpeed to school buses can be offset by fuel savings, lower insurance premiums, and reduced wear and tear.
“Saving kids’ lives is just the start,” he added.
For more information on SafeSpeed, go here.