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 9, 2015 - Issue 25

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Ontario Auditor General 2015 Annual Report Released
  2. OSBA's Reaction to the Auditor General's Concerns About School Bus Safety
  3. 2016 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
  4. NSTA Announces Changes to the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition
  5. Waterloo Startup Sober Steering Aims To 'Sniff' Out Drunk Driving
  6. OASBO - Executive Director Retires
  7. Upcoming Events
Ontario Auditor General 2015 Annual Report Released

Further to the OSBA communique of Nov. 30/15, the full Ontario Auditor General 2016 Annual Report can be viewed at the following link:
For report details specifically regarding student transportation – see Chapter 3 – Section 3.13 at the following link:   This report includes 15 recommendations by the Auditor General. 
As always, OSBA welcomes member comments and feedback. If you require more information, please contact Michele O'Bright at, 416.695.9965 Ext. 3.

OSBA's Reaction to the Auditor General's Concerns About School Bus Safety

Ontario's School Bus Safety Record is Second to None

The Ontario Auditor General’s report released Dec. 2, 2015 noted information about the safety of school vehicle transportation in Ontario.  While the report acknowledges that school vehicles are generally a very safe mode of transportation, and school vehicle drivers are not at fault in the majority of cases, it stated that the percentage of school buses involved in collisions exceeds that of trucks and cars.  The fact is that Ontario’s school bus safety record is exemplary when taking into account distance travelled and collision reporting (“report everything”) protocols.
While even one collision involving a school vehicle is cause for concern, collisions sometimes occur, especially given the large number of school vehicles - 19,000 - and the distance travelled on any given school day - 2 million km - equal to 50 times the circumference of the earth.  Despite these large numbers, the average number of school vehicle collisions in Ontario is less than 6 a day.  Most of these are minor in nature such as a car rear-ending a school bus during inclement weather, and are well under the legislated reporting level set by legislation in view of “report everything” collision reporting protocols in place at most school bus companies.  School bus occupant injuries or fatalities are extremely rare.  In fact, both the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Transport Canada say that students are 16 times safer travelling to or from school in a school bus than in the family car.
Ontario’s school bus companies make it their mission to safely and reliably transport 830,000 children to and from school each day. The school bus industry and the provincial government have worked closely to ensure that Ontario has the most stringent safety school bus driver and vehicle standards in Canada.  Three factors make school buses our childrens’ safest mode of transportation:  bus construction and design;  well-trained drivers;  and bus companies that are dedicated to safety and reliability.
School bus drivers have the most rigorous qualification standards and licencing requirements compared to most other drivers, including police background checks.  No other vehicles on the road are inspected as often or held to higher performance standards than school buses.  While the Auditor General has identified gaps in the Ministry of Transportation’s school vehicle oversight program, OSBA and its members continue to work closely with MTO to ensure all laws, regulations and standards are applied effectively and consistently across the province.

2016 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)

On Behalf of the Canadian Pupil Transportation 2016 organizing committee, Manitoba Association of School Business Officials, the host Province of Manitoba, and the Canadian school bus transportation industry, delegates are invited to attend the 9th Biennial Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference in Winnipeg.

The CPTC Host Committee is confident you will enjoy Winnipeg and our hope is that we are able to provide you with valuable and informative professional development, trade show and networking experiences, which will enhance your work as a student transportation professional and expand your contact base.

School bus transportation, “Driving Education”, requires a commitment to improve through conferences, education, information exchange and best practices. We trust the investment of your time attending CPTC 2016 will be reflected in the safe and efficient transportation for our future, our STUDENTS. 

Please click on the following website link for information regarding the conference, and a quick online registration form.  Participants registering before January 15, 2016 will receive a Stormtech durable water-repellent jacket. 
Enjoy, learn, share, network and most of all, have fun.

NSTA Announces Changes to the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition

Article By: National School Transportation Association
Article Date: December 1, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, VA, - The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) announces changes to the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition. The changes will begin taking effect for the 2016 competition on July 17 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Specifically, the following new rules are now in place:
  • Each state or province is allowed a maximum of two contestants in each school bus class not to exceed a total of six (6) contestants per state that meets the eligibility requirements as follows:
  • Transit Class - One public sector and one private sector driver for a total of 2 drivers.
  • Conventional Class - One public sector and one private sector driver for a total of 2 drivers.
  • Small Bus Class - One public sector and one private sector driver for a total of 2 drivers.
  • In order to be eligible, a driver must have competed in a state or provincial competition in the school bus class they are entering in the International Competition during the last year. A public or private sector school bus driver that competes in a regional (local or multi-state) or local school bus driver safety competition is not eligible to compete in the International School Bus Driver Safety Competition.
  • In states or provinces where the public and private sectors hold separate competitions, the individual with the highest score from each state or provincial competition in each school bus class will be eligible to compete.
  • If a state or province has only a public sector competition they will be limited to a maximum of three (3) public sector contestants, one from each school bus class. The same would apply to the private sector competition, a maximum of three (3) contestants, one from each school bus class, would be eligible.  
Full competition rules, along with all other documents regarding the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, can be accessed on the NSTA website at the following address:

For more information, please contact Alexandra Huss at, 703-684-3200
Waterloo Startup Sober Steering Aims To 'Sniff' Out Drunk Driving

Reprinted From: Waterloo Region Record
Article Date: December 1, 2015

A test project is underway at
 Sober Steering, a Waterloo-based startup that aspires to make the breathalyzer obsolete with a different way to monitor blood-alcohol levels that's both faster and cheaper.

Sober Steering uses touch-based biosensor technology to monitor the person behind the wheel, essentially sniffing alcohol through their skin.

Before drivers start the engine, they must place their palm on a sensor built into the steering wheel to activate the vehicle's ignition.

When they're on the road, Sober Steering requires drivers to "check in" with the system to ensure they haven't sneaked a few sips. If a driver consumed alcohol it would only take the sensor five minutes to detect the ethanol off the palm of his or her skin.

If it does, the system alerts a home base, which can be police or a transit system's headquarters.

Catherine Carroll, Sober Steering's chief operating officer, believes the technology could reshape how we monitor drinking and driving. Plans are to gradually roll out Sober Steering in various fleet vehicles, like construction machinery and coach buses.

But before that happens, the school bus industry is helping launch the concept, partly because the entire industry is a lightning rod for attention when drivers are caught intoxicated.

Sober Steering is marketing its sensors as a way to stop problems before the engine starts. Three school bus companies in the Waterloo Region area are already backing the system in a pilot project.

"It's a springboard into other vehicles, but also there's something inherently emotional about a big yellow school bus," Carroll said.

"It's filled with children and that's our most precious cargo."

Sober Steering began with Dennis Bellehumeur, a man from Windsor who came up with the concept.

Around that time, Carroll, who grew up in Florida, was working as a New York investment banker, but she had a change of heart during the economic crisis and changed careers to focus on financial advice to tech startups.

That's when she crossed paths with Bellehumeur, who was looking to turn his idea into a business. The two worked together until Bellehumeur eventually left the company. He has since died.

Carroll oversaw turning the idea into an actual device with the help of her physicist father.

"Certain sensors were being used in the military where they would put chemical sniffers on the tip of a weapon, (it) would go to a specific location ... and sniff the air to detect chemical weapons," Carroll said.

"It was a matter of how we designed one for commercial use at a sensitivity level that would be required for the human body."

In 2009, with the help of provincial funding, Sober Steering brought on researchers from the University of Waterloo to help develop the sensors.

However, there are a few setbacks in the current model. For example, hand sanitizers can lead the sensors to inaccurately detect an intoxicated driver within roughly a minute of application, Carroll said.

It's also not yet ready for consumer vehicles where the driver could get a passenger to easily apply their hand to pass the sobriety test.

Those kinks are being worked out, Carroll said.

Once that happens, she hopes to bring Sober Steering into the mainstream for convicted drunk drivers who require a monitoring device such as an ignition interlock but want to remain discreet.

"It's really hard to park in the employee parking lot because people see you using it," she said.

"We wanted something that was very low profile, so that even the people in your car wouldn't know about it unless you were drunk."

Bringing those plans to market could take years of working through both technological adjustments and finding partners in the auto industry, but Carroll is hopeful that once the technology catches on, it will gain momentum.

"We've got gradual steps to take," she said.
OASBO - Executive Director Retires
At its December 3, 2015 meeting, the OASBO Board of Directors received, with regret, notice from Bill Blackie, Executive Director, that he will be leaving OASBO when his current contract ends on August 31, 2016.

Bill has led OASBO as Executive Director since 2005. During Bill's tenure, OASBO grew to 1,200 members and 17 standing committees. Increased professional development and networking opportunities for members and stronger relationships with education partners in Ontario, across Canada and beyond are all hallmarks of Bill's dedicated leadership and service to OASBO. He was also instrumental in the establishment of school business certificate and diploma programs at Guelph University and having these courses recognized towards requirements for provincial supervisory officer certification. 

OSBA extends thanks to Bill for his commitment to OASBO and the education sector and best wishes as he moves forward into the next phase of his life's journey. 
Upcoming Events

OSBA Webinar
Jan. 13, 2016

Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Jan. 10-15, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Mar. 13-18, 2016

Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) - Annual Conference
Mar. 15-18, 2016

Student Transportation Association of Saskatchewan (STAS) - Annual Conference
Mar. 30-Apr. 1, 2016

Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
Apr. 16-21, 2016

Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 24-27, 2016
Ontario Transportation Expo - Trade Show
Apr. 26, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 1-6, 2016
Association of School Business Officials of Alberta (ASBOA) - Annual Conference and Trade Show
May 9-11, 2016
OSBA Webinar
May 25, 2016

Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Jul. 10-15, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 7-12, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 16-21, 2016
OSBA Webinar
Oct. 19, 2016
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