A new arm-like prop can be placed around school buses to help train drivers to thoroughly check their mirrors for students in the danger zone.
The product, called “Can You See Me,” was created by veteran school bus driver Victoria DeCarlo, who also invented the Steffi Crossing Enhancer.
Transportation managers and trainers can place the arms in various places around the bus, such as along the side or below the front bumper. The idea is to reinforce the notion that a child next to the bus isn’t always easy to see.
DeCarlo said that the “Can You See Me” arm “basically trains the driver to look beyond the expected.” “The expected” might be a person standing upright in clear view. But a closer look in the mirrors might be needed to spot a child bending down to pick up a dropped item — a situation that has ended in tragedy in some cases.
In new driver training, for example, the instructor can place the prop arm next to the bus and then tell the driver trainee to check the mirrors before moving the bus. If the driver sees the item, he or she can be instructed to secure the bus, take out the keys and check it out.
“When the driver sees what it is, reality strikes hard and is unforgettable, making safer drivers,” DeCarlo said.
The “Can You See Me” arms have been in use at the district that DeCarlo drives for, Lake Shore Central School District in Angola, N.Y. Transportation Supervisor Perry Oddi has been planting them randomly on buses to make sure that drivers are doing thorough pre-trip inspections.
“He will hide one of these behind the back seat, under seats, etc., and has had an overwhelming success with his drivers finding the item during their pre-trip,” DeCarlo said.
Drivers are instructed to radio in to the office immediately after finding one of the prop arms.
The “Can You See Me” kit contains three arms and one clear tag with instructions on returning them to the supervisor. The arms come in three colors — tan, black and red — for various levels of difficulty in spotting them.
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