The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education, and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
December 16, 2016 - Issue 26

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Inside this Edition:
  1. U.S. House Bill Would Fund School Bus 3-Point Seat Belts
  2. Bus Company Could Be Open to Liability in Fatal Crash, Legal Observers Say
  3. 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo – Retro Displays
  4. OSBA Magazine Available On-Line
  5. Girl Gives Gift To School Bus Driver Battling Cancer​
  6. Federal Proposal For Connected Vehicles Signals School Bus ‘Sea Change’​
  7. Seon Launches Kindness Campaign Against Bullying​
  8. Order Your OSBA Publications Now!
  9. Upcoming Events
U.S. House Bill Would Fund School Bus 3-Point Seat Belts

Article Source: School Transportation News (US)
Article Date: December 8, 2016

Rep. Steve Cohen representing the 9th District of Tennessee introduced legislation that would require federal funding to equip all newly purchased large school buses in the U.S. with lap-shoulder belts, and it would penalize states for not passing school bus illegal passing and driver background laws.

The Bring Enhanced Liability in Transportation for Students Act, or BELT, aims to create federal grants to enable states and local school districts to purchase new school buses weighing more than 10,000 pounds with lap-shoulder restraint systems as well as motion-activated detection systems. The bill does not list a dollar amount for the grants, but it does state that the U.S. Department of Transportation would be required to ensure the grants are "of sufficient size and scope."

States would also be required to submit a report to the feds on the effectiveness of its school bus three-point seat belt program, including student usage and the impact on school bus seating capacity.

At this writing, HB6461 had been referred to the House Education and Workforce Committee by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the latter of which Cohen is a member. 

Cohen said in a statement recently that his bill became necessary after the school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee that killed six students and injured dozens more.

“When it comes to protecting our school children, safety must come first,” he said, citing the six states that require seat belts on school buses. “When I was in the Tennessee State Senate, I sponsored a bill to require seat belts on school buses, yet it was opposed by the industry and never received a vote in committee.”

Cohen cited federal statistics that show 134 school-transportation-related fatalities occur each year, but he failed to note that 92 percent of those deaths occur in vehicles other than the school bus or to non-occupant pedestrians or bicyclists, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The BELT Act would also direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to withhold 10 percent of individual state federal-aid highway funds for each state that fails to enact a law that requires school districts and bus companies to conduct background checks on all new school bus driver applicants, which is already a common industry practice. The legislation also would withhold 10 percent of federal highway aid if a state does not enact a law that specifies first and second civil or criminal penalties for motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses.

“Seat belts, background checks for drivers and other measures could help reduce future disasters,” Cohen concluded. “I urge my colleagues to support this common-sense legislation to protect our children riding on school buses.
Bus Company Could Be Open to Liability in Fatal Crash, Legal Observers Say

Article Source: Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD)
Article Date: December 8, 2016

Baltimore's school system and a contracted bus company could be open to legal liability if they were aware of the driving and medical history of the driver involved in last month's deadly crash in Southwest Baltimore, legal observers said Wednesday.

Preliminary findings of a National Transportation Safety Board incident report show the driver previously had "seizure-like episodes" and was involved in at least 12 crashes in the past five years.

"The driver should never have been in any position where he was driving a school bus," said Kevin Goldberg, a Silver Spring-based attorney who handles accident cases.

Chappell's medical history and previous crashes were among the main findings in an incident report released by the NTSB. Chappell, 67, was driving a school bus that struck a Ford Mustang and then a Maryland Transit Administration bus on Frederick Avenue on Nov. 1. Chappell and five others were killed and 11 people were injured.

The NTSB report also found that Chappell suffered a medical emergency that witnesses described as a seizure at the school bus company's office one week before the crash, investigators said.

Goldberg said attorneys for the victims could have a case against Chappell's employer, the AAAfordable Transportation bus company, but only if they can show the company had knowledge of his crash history and medical condition.

George Bogris, a lawyer representing AAAfordable, declined to comment, and officials with the company could not be reached for comment.

Baltimore school officials said in a statement that they will continue to "review and tighten processes and practices involving the provision of contracted bus transportation for students."

They declined further comment, citing "impending litigation related to the accident."

To date, no lawsuits have been filed in connection with the crash, online court records show.

AAAfordable Transportation, based in Southwest Baltimore, was one of seven companies contracted by Baltimore schools to transport students. The school system severed its relationship with the company three weeks after the crash.

Goldberg said it would be more difficult for victims to sue the school system.

"The way I see it, the school system delegated its duty to the bus company," Goldberg said.

Attorney Dan Whitney Sr. said a claim against the school system would be "more remote," and a plaintiff's attorney would have to prove the school system was aware of Chappell's medical condition and driving history.

Whitney said the school bus company should review employees' driving records periodically.

The responsibility for reporting seizures or any other medical condition of concern falls on drivers and their employers, federal and state regulators have said.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers to disclose any medical conditions when they apply for a certificate stating they are healthy enough to drive. Doctors who have been trained to conduct driver physicals also ask applicants about any medical issues that might not be physically apparent.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration also asks for medical history information and keeps driver medical certificates on file. At least seven times, Chappell testified in MVA forms that he had no medical conditions that needed to be reported, agency spokesman Chuck Brown said.

The MVA was revoking Chappell's commercial driving privileges at the time of the crash because he hadn't updated the certificate.

Both agencies warn drivers when they sign the disclosures that providing incomplete or inaccurate information is considered perjury.

Drivers' employers also are required to keep the medical certificates on file. AAAfordable has said it had received an updated medical certificate from Chappell in June.
2017 Ontario Transportation Expo – Retro Displays

Do you have an antique school bus that you would be interested in displaying at the 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)?  If so, please let us know!

The 2017 OTE Planning Committee is exploring the idea of providing complimentary display space for one antique school bus, motor coach and transit bus as part of the 2017 trade show.  Prior to committing the space to displaying the vehicles, the Committee needs to determine if there is a member from each association with an antique vehicle (e.g. school bus from OSBA) that would be interested in displaying for the duration of the show (including move-in on April 10; display on April 11).

OTE will be taking place at the International Plaza Hotel (rebranding to the new Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre in early 2017), 655 Dixon Road, Toronto, ON from April 9 – 12, 2017.  

For further information or to provide any comments, please contact Alex Bugeya – or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4
OSBA Magazine Available On-Line

If you haven’t received a hard-copy of this year’s OSBA magazine “School Bus Ontario”, be sure to click here to view it on the OSBA website.  Some very interesting, easy-reading articles available anytime on-line or through your Smartphone:
  • The Facts about Police and Criminal Background Checks
  • Employers:  Make Sure You Understand Your Rights and Obligations
  • Prevent Getting Trapped at Gated Railway Crossings!
  • Alcohol and Drug Policies in Safety-Sensitive Workplaces
  • Ontario’s New Rules for Pedestrian Crossovers and School Crossings
  • Developing Talent with Your Organization
  • And much more!
Questions or comments about the articles?  Please feel free to contact us – or 416.695.9965.
Girl Gives Gift To School Bus Driver Battling Cancer

Article Source: School Transportation News (US)
Article Date: December 14, 2016

Instead of writing a list of Christmas presents, 10-year-old Olivia Wiestruk from Maryland is giving a gift to her school bus driver who is battling her second round of cancer in two years, reported WUSA 9.

Laura Martin sang Christmas carols with the students from Fort Smallwood Elementary School as they drove home from school.  She and Olivia found out they have a lot in common.

She shows joy in the midst of intense and sometimes brutal chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer. Martin clearly touched the lives of the children that when she needed it most, they reached out to help, and Olivia knew just how.

“Miss Laura had blonde long hair and wore a cancer barrette, and a few weeks later started wearing a cap and didn’t have her hair anymore,” Olivia explained. “I asked her if she had cancer and told her I wanted to help.”

Olivia, with help from her dad, started a GoFundMe page.

“I can’t get this little girl off my mind, to be so young and to think about others,” Martin said.

The friendship that started with a smile now brings tears of gratitude, of generosity, for the gift of life.

“I love life, and I want to live,” said Martin. “I’m a fighter.”

When Martin feels well, she maintains three part-time jobs, including a night-time custodial job within the school department.

Olivia’s dad said if she reaches her goal of $2,000 he will dye his hair pink.
Federal Proposal For Connected Vehicles Signals School Bus ‘Sea Change’

Article Source: School Transportation News (US)
Article Date: December 13, 2016

It will take a while to see realistic, fully-functional, driverless yellow buses on America’s roads, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposed rule to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications for light-duty vehicles is a step towards that goal, industry insiders told School Transportation News.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation would enable V2V communication technology on all newly manufactured passenger cars and trucks. It would allow the vehicles to “talk” to each other on the road by sharing data, such as direction, location, and speed, as well as incorporating other new crash-avoidance technology like lane departure warnings and automatic braking.

NHTSA said the data would be updated and broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles. Using that information, V2V-equipped vehicles can identify risks and provide warnings to drivers to avoid imminent crashes. Vehicles that contain automated driving functions, such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, could also benefit from the use of V2V data to better avoid or reduce the consequences of crashes.

“Once deployed, V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road and will help us enhance vehicle safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Speculation around school bus industry gatherings this past year has centered on the prospect of autonomous vehicles, especially after Foxx’s announcement that the feds would move forward with plans to develop national standards and to deploy autonomous test vehicles. Research performed by Google, Tesla and others, including those in the commercial truck sector, have furthered the thought that the technology will one day, and perhaps one day soon, be made available to school buses.

An industry expert with specific knowledge of V2V technology who asked to remain anonymous said that medium- and heavy-duty version of the V2V proposal should be forthcoming, and they will likely be based on the public reaction to NHTSA’s proposal for light-duty vehicles.

The catch is how the incoming Trump administration will respond. The expert said the promise of V2V communications and autonomous driving improving transportation system safety and efficiency without adding a lot of physical infrastructure costs will likely keep the proposal “at the forefront.”

Another industry expert speaking anonymously cited recent developments in crash avoidance, braking assist, motion sensors, front and rear camera systems and stability control as the signals that driverless school buses, at least in part, are on the horizon.

According to this expert, the truck market is on the verge of a "sea change," or a broad transformation, when it comes to semi-autonomous devices becoming available and then finding its way onto the school bus.

NHTSA’s light-duty announcement comes at a time when federal transportation officials bemoan a spike over the past year to more than 35,000 people killed nationwide in traffic-related crashes. At the same time, seat-belt usage is at its highest rate ever at 90 percent. So, the thinking goes, connected vehicles—and perhaps, autonomous vehicles—promise to greatly reduce fatalities tied to crashes by removing driver error and distraction.

“Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind during Tuesday’s announcement. “V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold.”
Seon Launches Kindness Campaign Against Bullying

Article Source: School Transportation News (US and Canada)
Article Date: December 7, 2016

Mobile video surveillance company Seon and parent company Safe Fleet’s national program United Against Bullying have partnered to launch a 12 Days of Kindness campaign to showcase the good deeds witnessed on behalf of passengers, students and the general public with the transportation industry.

The anti-bullying campaign, which has focused on empowering young people to stand up to abusive behaviour, has partnered with Seon since 2014 to help reduce bullying on school transportation through the use of video surveillance.

In the Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying for 2011 from the National Center for Education Statistics, 27.8 percent of approximately 24 million students nationwide between 12-18 years old report they have been bullied. According to the U.S. Department of Education, almost 10 percent of bullying incidents occur on school buses.

In an effort to help win the battle against bullying, Seon and United Against Bullying are using video and audio surveillance to gather detailed information about persistent bullying incidents on buses. By capturing and recording footage, as well as the ability to wirelessly download, view and manage the security videos quickly and reliably, Seon offers fleet management solutions by providing real-time information for the overall well-being of the passengers and drivers.

Vlada Terenina, Seon's marketing coordinator, said the initiative to launch the Season of Kindness campaign was to inform the public of those “good” news stories that are dismissed by most media outlets in order to report on tragic events.

“We wanted to bring these stories of kindness to the forefront in this most giving season, to showcase the great work and dedication of transportation teams across the nation,” she added.  

To promote the campaign, Seon encourages participants in the U.S. and Canada to share a photo or video on Facebook and Twitter along with the hashtag #seasonofkindness. Seon and United Against Bullying will also post a kindness message to inspire the transportation community for each of the 12 days.

The contest began Dec. 7 and concludes on Dec. 18, with the contestant whose photo or video has the most likes crowned winner on Dec. 21.
Order Your OSBA Publications Now!

Visit the OSBA website at and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page to order the following publications. Or click on the links below and go directly to each order form: Once you have completed the necessary order form, scan/email it to or fax to 416-695-9977
Upcoming Events

Jan. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Jan. 22-27 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Jan. 25 OSBA Webinar
Feb. 2 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Mar. 2 OSBA Webinar
Mar. 12-17 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Apr. 9-12 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo – Conference and Trade Show
Apr. 27 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 1-5 Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) Convention
May 7-12 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 17 OSBA Webinar
June 21 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
July 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 12 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Aug. 13-18 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 16-20 National School Bus Safety Week
Oct. 25 OSBA Webinar
Oct. 26 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Dec. 6 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 13-16 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
Copyright © 2016 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

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