Shedding some light on safety and strobes on school buses

Full story: The Morning Call

Q: For the last few years, every time I get behind a school bus in the dark hours of the morning, I wonder about the purpose of that white strobe light on the back roof of the bus.

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Karen__ VA

Virginia Beach, VA

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#43
Feb 18, 2008
 
lv toilet wrote:
more inprotant then a strobe light is this question. Why the hell do school buses stop every 5 feet to pick up the kids? aren't there bus stops anymore? its ridiculous and bad for the environment. these little fatty kids get curb side service, while a normal ride that takes 5 minutes, now takes a 1/2 hour.
This is a very valid question. The busses these days are driving through every development, little street and stopping at every street corner. Parents have probably complained that they want a bus stop closer to their house. Wahh. Walking the extra few blocks will do them good. Maybe kids not having to walk to get the school bus is why todays kids are fat and lazy. Better yet, waste your gas and crowd out the schools parking lots to drop off your precious little brats because they can't walk to extra block to get the bus.
mich

Bath, PA

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#44
Feb 18, 2008
 
Charles Klein wrote:
Maybe we should all get strobes atop our cars, too. I feel that the safety of every driver and passenger is just as important as school children on the roads we all share.
It might also help us compete with the trash haulers, tow truck operators, and fuel oil delivery trucks, oh wait, they don't bother with any warnings, they just park in the roadway and conduct their profit-making business while we are delayed and put in harms way on 2-lane roads.
But we're reaching a saturation where flashing lights are less than unusual events indicating the need for added attention, instead we're reaching a point of ignoring them, especially when they're constantly in use.
Well then we should no longer allow cell phone use, gps, radio etc. I too agree that everyone is just as important as our children but how else do you get people to pay attention to their surroundings? It's very sad to see every day the memorium for someone who died after being hit by a car.
Brian

Binghamton, NY

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#45
Feb 18, 2008
 
valleyvenus wrote:
I find the strobe lights helpful. We're all so used to seeing the red lights on a school bus. The strobe lights draw more attention and alert anyone who may otherwise not have noticed an approaching school bus.
If you can't notice a huge , bright yellow vehicle without a strobe light , then you probably should do society a favor and buy a bus pass.
Jeez

United States

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#46
Feb 18, 2008
 
Karen__ VA wrote:
Obviously the light got your attention. Then it is doing it's job.
The point is, the drivers leave the lights on 24/7. I could care less that a school bus filled with precious little cargo is going the other way down a divided highway. I drive carefully, regardless of the presence of a bus.

"A study by the Pupil Transportation Unit reported that the observable frequency of donít pass law violators decreased by 55% following the installation of strobe lights."

Fine - trigger the lights from the existing flashers, I don't need to be distracted because there's a kid in a bus that's out and about.

BTW, if you're so moronic that you pass a stopped school bus you should be shot on sight.
WOW

Slatington, PA

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#47
Feb 18, 2008
 
Mary wrote:
<quoted text>I bet looking at you would hurt our eyes too!!!! haw haw haw
That is really a good one Mary...haw haw haw...you must be of superior intellect haw haw haw.
NextStop50Feet

United States

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#48
Feb 18, 2008
 
lv toilet wrote:
more inprotant then a strobe light is this question. Why the hell do school buses stop every 5 feet to pick up the kids? aren't there bus stops anymore? its ridiculous and bad for the environment. these little fatty kids get curb side service, while a normal ride that takes 5 minutes, now takes a 1/2 hour.
AGEED! Let the little porkers waddle a bit further! The amount of stops is pathetic. we walked a bit when we were kids and we are just fine. These parents who whine and complain that fatty can't walk should have done the world a favor and kept their legs closed in the first place!!!
Jnny

Fairfield, CT

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#49
Feb 18, 2008
 
What about the terrible placement of the strobes on some buses, square in the middle of the roof? It makes them worthless when the height of the bus blocks the view of the strobe by car drivers. Doesn't anyone think anymore?
John

Emmaus, PA

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#50
Feb 18, 2008
 
Back when I was your age...I used to have to walk 15 miles to school...up hill both ways...
Oliver

Lake Ariel, PA

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#52
Feb 18, 2008
 
Hebrew National Hot Dogs are much better than
Nathans.
The Point

Slatington, PA

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#53
Feb 18, 2008
 
Require all strobes on school buses to be used only during the transportation of students. Not while driving to or from the bus stop while empty.
TENACIOUS

Catasauqua, PA

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#54
Feb 18, 2008
 
silver surfer wrote:
I can see why the strobes are needed because it is so difficult to see a giant yellow vehicle going down the road sporting more red lights than a train station.
Whenever gubament is involved, excess is always the way to go.
I was a schoolbus driver for 11 years. After the first 2 years, I was going to court about 10x a year for people that ran my lights. This did not include the few that pleaded guilty(2 or 3), or the 15-25 I couldn't catch. Most of us don't mind the strobs in the daytime, but at night they are terrible. If you think it's bad in a car, imagine being 10' higher and right behind it. I worked for a schoolbus company that does extensive work for colleges and after school activities. If we had a group of busses we would turn all the lights off except for the last bus(anyone coming up behind us could see us), this was against company policy, but those who made the policy did not have to ride behind them at night. As for the comment about them being easy to see(11 feet tall, about 40 feet long and lit up like a Christmas tree, not to mention yellow), many people will tell the police officers and testify that they didn't see them(and that was before cell phones). So put them on in the day time , but leave them off at night.
BS in Business

Schnecksville, PA

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#56
Feb 19, 2008
 
The white strobes should not be used while the bus is driving down the road. In that mode, it is identical to everyone other vehicle in terms of rights and responsibilities. However, once the vehicle stops in the travel lanes, it becomes a traffic control device. Activating the strobe at this time would be appropriate. When the vehicle starts moving, an inexpensive timer could be used to keep the strobe flashing for a few seconds until the bus gets back up to speed. If the strobe is only used for this purpose, it will be more effective as motorists will be better able to see why traffic has come to a standstill on a road without other traffic control devices.

While the white strobes on buses are heavily overused, so to are the amber lights used by private snow plow contractors. I use a light to warn others of my presence while plowing heavily trafficed service stations, but I always deactivate the light while traveling on the roadways. Others seem to find it necessary to always keep the light activated. Since the vehicle code defines these vehicles as "authorized vehicles", there are very few priviliges that are granted to snow plow operators. These priviliges are only valid while actually plowing, so it's difficult to see how a private contractor traveling between jobs is justified in using a warning light, especially while traveling the posted speed limit or above. Restricting the use of amber lights to those times a hazard is created would help ensure their effectiveness, such as a PennDOT or municipal truck servicing our roadways or myself servicing my customers. Private contractors should be ticketed for illegal use of their lights when they are not actively plowing.

Finally on my list of lighting peeves, is the proliferation of excess warning lights on emergency vehicles. I volunteer as both an EMT and a firefighter, yet I do not see the need for units to display a million flashes per minute (I'd like to be exaggerating, but I'm not). My department has several apparatus with different vintages of warning lights (halogen, strobe, LED), so I can speak from experience that the slower flashing halogen and LED lights are much more visible to motorists than the ultra fast blinkies. There is definitely a need to have multiple lights on these units as they are typically exercising priviliges granted by law and citizens are always too eage to litigate. NFPA standards for fire apparatus and the KKK regulations for ambulances provide a lighting framework that is fairly complete. It provides for: front warning, both high on the roof and at the headlight level; intersection lights placed low on each side of the apparatus; side warning lights placed high towards the rear and sometimes mid-ship on long apparatus; and rear warning lights mounted up high. This provides 360* protection and warns vehicles as they are approached from the rear, as emergency vehicles proceed through intersections, and as they are stopped in travel lanes to render emergency service. I agree that excessive lights and flashes only serve to confuse and blind motorists, effectively negating the life safety effect that they were installed to provide.
Whatever

Allentown, PA

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#57
Feb 19, 2008
 
Whatever your name is, WOW from Walnutport. First off, you're telling people to get a life because of someones thoughts, or ideas? Listen to yourself I think you're the one in need of a life commenting and putting down everyones comments and articles. Second, you're from Walnutport...I rest my case at that, and third you're probably putting everybody else down because you were or are one of those kids that always got picked on in highschool so in spite of that and for revenge you sit here as a low life trying to give back to other what you got as a kid or what youe getting as a kid.
WOW

Slatington, PA

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#58
Feb 19, 2008
 
Whatever wrote:
Whatever your name is, WOW from Walnutport. First off, you're telling people to get a life because of someones thoughts, or ideas? Listen to yourself I think you're the one in need of a life commenting and putting down everyones comments and articles. Second, you're from Walnutport...I rest my case at that, and third you're probably putting everybody else down because you were or are one of those kids that always got picked on in highschool so in spite of that and for revenge you sit here as a low life trying to give back to other what you got as a kid or what youe getting as a kid.
you have a lot of anger in you...sorry I am not from Wanutport, I was born and raised in Schnecksville and after college and the Marines decided to move my family away from there because it is not the same. I live in Lynn township. It is kind of what Scnecksville used to be. So are you a Jerzy or Allentown transplant to Schnecksville? This is a comment board, I think it is crazy that anyone can be upset that an extra step is being taken to ensure childrens safety. You should channel your anger at the idiots poking fun at the kids, and about too many bus stops. Take a pill and relax!
Ollie North

United States

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#59
Feb 21, 2008
 
"...excessively bright flashing lights on some of the new police cars, wondering if those lights are too distracting. But they justifiably are designed to be impossible to ignore, because when activated, they mark an emergency situation."

Say, like when the "Hot-Fresh" neon it lit at the Krispy Kreme?!?
Local Boy

Bethlehem, PA

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#60
Feb 21, 2008
 
I remember years ago the Pa State Police had strobe lights on their cars. They removed them for being too distracting, and went to rotating lights. I would like to know what brought them back for school buses. It would be great to see them back with the State Police.
TENACIOUS

Allentown, PA

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#61
Feb 21, 2008
 
Jnny wrote:
What about the terrible placement of the strobes on some buses, square in the middle of the roof? It makes them worthless when the height of the bus blocks the view of the strobe by car drivers. Doesn't anyone think anymore?
Actually they are not needed so much for the people behind the bus, but in front of the bus. The majority of people that blow schoolbus lights, are in the opposite lane coming towards the bus. Many people don't understand that you can't pass the bus on undivided roads like 309 between Coopersburg and Quakertown.
Joan

Sioux City, IA

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#62
Nov 21, 2012
 
valleyvenus wrote:
I find the strobe lights helpful. We're all so used to seeing the red lights on a school bus. The strobe lights draw more attention and alert anyone who may otherwise not have noticed an approaching school bus.
.

Strobe lights cause seizures and make it mire dangerous for children

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