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.  
October 30, 2019 - Issue 22

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Fact Sheet: Safety & School Bus Seating Capacity
  2. 2019 School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day Activities
  3. Navistar Launches New Business Unit for Electric Vehicle Solutions
  4. Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week
  5. STA Celebrates NAPT’s Annual School Bus Safety Week Campaign
  6. Summerside Police Cracking down on Drivers Illegally Passing Stopped School Buses
  7. REMINDER - OSBA Needs Your Help!
  8. AMF-Bruns Announces its Special-Needs School Bus Driver of the Year Award
  9. Education and Appreciation Emphasized During National School Bus Safety Week
  10. Order Your OSBA Publications Now!
  11. Upcoming Events
Fact Sheet: Safety & School Bus Seating Capacity
In response to on-going questions and concerns about the proper seating capacity of school buses, OSBA produced the following reference document: FACT SHEET: SAFETY & SCHOOL BUS SEATING CAPACITY.

For safe, effective and efficient student transportation, it is helpful for all those involved in the planning process to have a common understanding of the maximum seating capacity of school buses.  The specified seating capacity as stated by the school bus manufacturers and as dictated through the federal safety standards, is commonly misunderstood.  To ensure student safety, it is imperative that occupants are properly seated on a school bus so that they are adequately protected in the event of a collision.  

The Fact Sheet clarifies the origin and purpose of the manufacturer’s stated seating capacity and summarizes regulations and notable information for determining the appropriate seating capacity of a school bus.

For a copy of the Fact Sheet or for further information, comments or questions, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at or 416.695.9965 Ext. 4.
2019 School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day Activities

With School Bus Safety Week 2019 closed for another year, OSBA would like to reflect on some events that took place to celebrate this special week in the industry:
  • Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and OSBA President Chris Harwood wished everyone a wonderful School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day with a special video that can be viewed here.
  • Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) Kinga Surma and Jim Switzer (OSBA Board of Director) shared a message for School Bus Safety Week. Watch the video here. Many thanks to Minister Surma and Switzer-Carty Transportation for their time, effort and support in developing this message and the Ministry’s ongoing collaboration and partnership with OSBA and the industry.
  • MPP Sam Oosterhoff acknowledged the commitment to safety and dedication of school bus drivers and monitors across the province and met with Sharp Bus Lines Nick Iannozzo, and bus monitor Jared Christie while at one of the Niagara Student Transportation Services (NSTS) stops last week.
  • Veteran's Transportation of Espanola Ltd. office and garage staff cooked a pancake breakfast for all of their drivers and monitors on School Bus Driver Appreciation Day which included games and contests that were enjoyed by all!

As always, OSBA appreciates receiving any information regarding member activities for School Bus Safety Week and/or Driver Appreciation Day! Please send information to
Navistar Launches New Business Unit for Electric Vehicle Solutions

Full Article: School Bus Fleet
Article Date: October 29, 2019

IC Bus parent company Navistar has launched a new business unit to deliver customized electrification solutions for commercial vehicles, including school buses. The Detroit-based business unit, known as NEXT eMobility Solutions, will consist of an engineering team that will develop electric vehicle (EV) solutions for commercial transportation using a consultative approach that embraces a range of customer needs, according to a news release from Navistar.

"NEXT will combine the lean and agile approach of a startup with the proven engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Navistar," said Persio Lisboa, the manufacturer’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. "The team is well-positioned to deliver rapid, customer-focused innovations in the eMobility space."

Vehicles developed by NEXT will be offered under the International Truck and IC Bus nameplates and will be sold and supported by International Truck and IC Bus dealers, respectively. Using NEXT as a catalyst for implementation, Navistar plans to have IC Bus electric school buses available at the end of 2020, while International medium-duty electric trucks will be introduced in early 2021.

In addition, NEXT has established a comprehensive "four Cs" approach to developing eMobility solutions listed below:
  • Consulting, using experts in commercial truck engineering, charging infrastructure, telematics, and more to craft a custom implementation plan for each customer's business, while optimizing each product for its usage and duty cycle.
  • Constructing the vehicle, taking advantage of Navistar's commercial vehicle manufacturing capability.
  • Charging, with solutions designed and delivered to each customer through new partnerships.
  • Connecting, using advanced solutions, including Navistar's OnCommand Connection telematics and remote diagnostics platform, to monitor vehicle performance and provide support through the International and IC Bus service networks.
The NEXT team will be led by Gary Horvat, Navistar's Vice President for eMobility. Horvat has EV experience from both the automotive and technology startup space, and led technology development for the electric bus product line of Proterra Inc., where his team set a world record for the longest range of any EV, according to Navistar. Horvat was also responsible for the development and application of powertrain and electrical components at Denso Intl., and before that, led improvements to Fisker Automotive's extended-range EV.
Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week

Full Article: Ontario Newsroom
Article Date: October 29, 2019

Ontario has designated the week beginning on the third Sunday of November as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week to help promote safe schools and a positive learning environment.

During Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week – November 17-23, 2019 – Ontario students, school staff and parents are encouraged to learn more about bullying and its effect on student learning and well-being.

Bullying is defined as a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.

Schools are encouraged to use this opportunity to explain the different forms bullying can take. These include:
  • Physical – hitting, shoving, stealing or damaging property
  • Verbal – name calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist or homophobic comments
  • Social – excluding others from a group or spreading gossip or rumours about them
  • Electronic (commonly known as cyberbullying) – spreading rumours and hurtful comments through the use of cellphones, e-mail, text messaging and through social media.
Safe Schools Teams

Safe schools teams are encouraged to plan activities or launch initiatives that heighten awareness of bullying and its impact on the school community.

Each school in Ontario has a safe schools team working to promote a safer and more welcoming learning environment. Teams include the school principal, a teacher, a student (where appropriate), a parent and a member from the broader community.

By organizing Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week activities, schools will be effecting positive change in student achievement and well-being.
STA Celebrates NAPT’s Annual School Bus Safety Week Campaign

Full Article: Market Watch
Article Date: October 21, 2019

Student Transportation of America (STA) celebrated the National Association for Pupil Transportation's (NAPT) National School Bus Safety Week last week. NAPT's annual campaign is an active and evolving public education program and an excellent way for parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety. This year's theme was 'My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!' and STA and NAPT partnered to produce a public service announcement safety video that can be viewed here.

"Naturally, safety is our top priority year-round, but National School Bus Safety Week affords us the opportunity to further engage with our customers and communities focusing on students' safety on and around the school bus," stated Shelly Hall, STA's Vice President of Safety. "It's great that we can partner with the NAPT to educate our customers and communities about the safest ride to and from school – the school bus."

STA is also proud to announce the seventh group of inductees into its prestigious Safety Wall of Fame recognizing employees who are truly outstanding individuals, both at work and in their communities. "This is a great week to announce the Class of 2019 who will be inducted into our Safety Wall of Fame," added Hall. "This is an exceptional group who often are the first to work and the last to leave, the ones who mentor others on their team, and those who are actively engaged in their communities. These folks take pride in their jobs, follow safety best practices, and shine as leaders."
Summerside Police Cracking down on Drivers Illegally Passing Stopped School Buses

Full Article: CBC News
Article Date: October 24, 2019

Summerside (P.E.I.) police are cracking down on drivers illegally passing stopped school buses while their flashing red lights are activated. Beginning in late October, officers have started patrolling hot spots during peak morning and afternoon commute times after receiving more than a dozen complaints from bus drivers and the public.

"It's a big concern for us," said Sgt. Jason Blacquiere, of the Summerside police. "That type of driving behaviour poses a significant risk to public safety and the potential consequences of that type of driving behaviour can be tragic and our students, they're very vulnerable when they're getting on and getting off the buses."

More than 15,000 students ride buses to school every day, according to the Public Schools Branch. The PSB said it has received 56 complaints of drivers passing school buses while they are stopped with their red lights flashing in the first six weeks of school, including 14 in Summerside.

"It's been an ongoing concern for a very long time," said Coun. Barb Ramsay, the city's chair of police services. "We are getting more and more complaints all the time and it's becoming an issue and it has been an issue and our police services are really working diligently on putting this initiative in place."  

Police said an increase in the number of complaints is likely due to inattentive drivers. "With the media campaigns that've been taking place over the last couple of years and the enforcement and the attention that the increased penalties have been getting, it's hard to believe that people aren't aware of the issue," Blacquiere said. "We're trying to curb the behaviour and hopefully stop the behaviour before there is a serious serious accident."

Three charges have been laid and police said they expect to lay charges in at least two more cases. Officers will continue to watch for drivers illegally passing school buses along Water Street, then move to a different area of the city.

Police hope the blitz not only catches drivers who put school children at risk but also raises awareness about the law. "It may not totally eliminate it because that's, you know, that's a difficult one, but hopefully it slows everything down where we can at least get control of the situation," Ramsay said.
REMINDER - OSBA Needs Your Help!

Planning for the 2020 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) is already underway! OSBA really wants to tailor the 2020 OTE business sessions to YOUR needs and to student transportation, but we need to hear from you in order to do so!

Please take 5 minutes to provide your feedback through the following survey link:  
Response by October 31st (or sooner) if possible, would be much appreciated.

Also, please be sure to keep an eye on for updates and news about the 2020 OTE!

Next year’s OTE Conference is taking place April 19-22, 2020 at the Delta Hotels Toronto Airport & Conference Centre.  The 2020 OTE Trade Show is taking place April 21, 2019 at the International Centre – Hall 5.

We look forward to hearing from you and receiving your responses to the 2020 OSBA survey today!
AMF-Bruns Announces its Special-Needs School Bus Driver of the Year Award

Full Article: School Transportation News
Article Date: October 24, 2019

Freddie Phillips is the 2nd annual AMF-Bruns National Special-Needs School Bus Driver of the Year. Phillips, who has been driving special needs buses for East Baton Rouge Parish Schools in Louisiana, for more than 16 years, goes above and beyond his responsibilities as a driver, said AMF-Bruns. Phillips trains bus operators in lift-gate procedures, child restraint systems, and car seat installation. He also participates in the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools Extended School Services program and helps students with learning challenges.

In 2016, Hurricane Mathew flooded Baton Rouge (LA), which was reported as the most powerful storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Phillips helped with the evacuation efforts during the storm. When floodwater reached two feet high, Phillips drove stranded people from nursing homes, houses and community centers to shelters. Phillips was recognized with a ceremony at his district and was rewarded with a plaque and a check for $1,000.

“I am beyond proud of this award and I’m even more excited that my supervisors thought enough of my work to nominate me,” Phillips told WAFB9, his local news station. The news station also reported that Phillips said he is planning to use some of the money to purchase backpacks filled with supplies for students in need.
Education and Appreciation Emphasized During National School Bus Safety Week

Full Article: School Bus Fleet
Article Date: October 10, 2019

Pupil transportation providers, suppliers, and elected officials nationwide came together from Oct. 21 to 25 to celebrate the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s (NAPT’s) National School Bus Safety Week with events highlighting school bus safety education and driver appreciation. 

The theme for NAPT’s annual campaign this year is “My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!”

The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) hosted a School Bus Illegal Passing Technology Showcase on the U.S. Capitol Grounds in Washington (DC), on October 23rd. In attendance were U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Todd Young, U.S. Representatives Jackie Walorski, Julia Brownley, and Rodney Davis, as well as staff from congressional offices and federal agencies and school bus industry partners, according to a news release from the NSTA. The event highlighted the growing problem of illegal passing of stopped school buses, technological solutions, and the Stop for School Buses Act of 2019 (S.1254/H.R. 2218). 

Safe Fleet demonstrated a school bus equipped with its Predictive Stop Arm as well as its Driver Alert solution. Also exhibited were a crossing guard school bus stop arm equipped with camera technology and auto ticketing feature, and a rear driver alert device. 

Afterward, NSTA President John Benish Jr., along with congressional officials, spoke about the importance of school bus safety and the need to draw attention to the dangers of illegal passing in a press conference. “NSTA was pleased to host this event to focus on illegal passing during National School Bus Safety Week,” Benish Jr. said. “As a father of four, and an owner of a family-operated school transportation company, ensuring students are transported in a safe and efficient manner is of utmost importance. I look forward to a continuing dialogue with policymakers about ways we can make the safest form of transportation even safer.”

Meanwhile, the New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) used the occasion to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a key piece of legislation addressing school bus safety education spearheaded by the association into law, according to a news release from the association. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (AB605A) and Sen. Anna Kaplan (SB2960B), would require adding at least one question about school bus safety awareness to the written test for general driver’s license applicants. As SBF previously reported, the topic would also have to be covered in the state’s driver pre-licensing driver's education course. The bill passed both houses during the 2019 legislative session.

The Utah School Public Relations Association hosted a press conference, “Stop the Stop Arm Violations,” which included speakers from the state’s pupil transportation association, the state transportation specialist, and a local school bus driver and school district superintendent. 

More generally, schools across the U.S. marked the occasion by partnering with law enforcement to bring awareness of school bus safety to the general public, teaching students about school bus safety, and showing appreciation for their bus drivers, with gestures such as a special breakfast cooked by student chefs, gift bags, and treats from students.

Additionally, smart fleet management technology supplier Zonar created a downloadable infographic that takes a look back at the history of school buses and how technology has been used to ensure passenger safety.
Order Your OSBA Publications Now!

Visit the OSBA website at and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page to order the following OSBA publications. Or click on the links below and go directly to each order form:
Once you have completed the necessary order form, please scan/email it to or fax it to 416-695-9977.
Copyright © 2019 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

Contact OSBA:
3075 Lenworth Drive, Mississauga, ON, L4X 2G3
Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977 |
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