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 29, 2015 - Issue 22

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Inside this Edition:
  1. OSBA Board of Directors Elections
  2. Revisiting An Infamous School Bus-Train Crash
  3. Terry Parsons Gives Thumbs Up To More School Bus Cameras
  4. Three-Point Seat Belt To Be Front and Centre at NAPT Summit
  5. School Bus Safety Week Posters For OSBA Members
  6. Upcoming Events
OSBA Board of Directors Elections

In accordance to OSBA By-Laws and notice to members, the following Board of Director positions will become open as of April 2016:
  • Director - District 1 (1) - Beardmore, Longlac, Kenora, Marathon, Thunder Bay.
  • Director - District 8 (1) - Avonmore, Carp, Cornwall, Eganville, Hawkesbury, Maxville, Nepean, Newington, Ottawa, Otonobee, Prescott, Renfrew, Rockland, Stittsville, and Winchester.
  • Director- At-Large (3)
Voting members interested in becoming a Director or nominating a candidate should complete the appropriate nomination form found at the following links:
In accordance to the Association’s By-Laws, nomination forms for District Directors must be received by OSBA on or before February 1, 2016 to be considered valid nominations.  OSBA will verify that nominees are eligible candidates (voting members of OSBA) and will distribute a ballot to each voting member in each applicable district, listing the nominees (if more than one nomination received).  Ballots will be distributed on or before March 1, 2016 and must be returned to OSBA on or before March 21, 2016 to be valid.  OSBA will count the ballots after March 21 and notify the members in each district of the nominee receiving the greatest number of ballots, no later than March 31, 2016.

Nomination forms for Director-At-Large positions will be accepted no later than five business days prior to the date of the OSBA Annual General Meeting (April 2016 – specific date to be determined).  In addition, a voting member of the Association (in good standing) may be orally nominated by two other voting members in good standing who are present at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).  The nominee will also be present at the AGM and shall orally confirm to the meeting that they intend to stand for election to the Board of Directors.  

For more information, please contact:  Michele O’Bright,
Revisiting An Infamous School Bus-Train Crash

Written By: School Bus Fleet
Article Date: October 26, 2015

Sunday marked the 20-year anniversary of one of the worst school bus-train crashes in U.S. history.
On the morning of Oct. 25, 1995, a school bus in Fox River Grove, Illinois, crossed railroad tracks and immediately stopped for a red light at an intersection next to the tracks. What the substitute school bus driver didn’t realize was that the rear of the bus was extending about 3 feet into the path of an oncoming commuter train.
Seconds later, the train slammed into the bus. The impact separated the school bus body from its chassis.
Of the 35 high school students on the bus, five died at the scene, and two more died of injuries a day later. Two dozen other students and the school bus driver were injured. No one on the train was injured.
After investigating the Fox River Grove crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 
issued 28 recommendations to various agencies and associations. Among those recommendations, the NTSB called for guidelines to be developed for the identification of route hazards and for the placement and use of radio speakers on school buses (investigators found that the driver couldn't hear the approaching train because the bus was too noisy).
On the route hazards issue, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) developed a report, released in 1998, called “
Identification and Evaluation of School Bus Route and Hazard Marking Systems."
The NASDPTS report calls for an annual review of school bus routes by a person trained to identify potential driving hazards. Also, NASDPTS wrote, school bus drivers should be trained in recognizing potential route hazards and should know how to report them.
The NASDPTS report includes a checklist for identifying potential railroad grade crossing hazards, such as presence of warning devices, sight distance, number and speed of scheduled trains, and characteristics of the road and tracks.
Another key resource for rail crossing safety is Operation Lifesaver. The nonprofit organization recommends these procedures for school bus drivers at highway-rail grades:
  1. Slow down, test your brakes and activate your four-way hazard lights about 200 feet before the crossing. (If your vehicle has a manual transmission, downshift before you cross.)
  2. Check for traffic around you. Make sure your intentions to stop are clear. Use a pull-out lane if one is available. Flashers, if necessary.
  3. Prepare the bus: Put the transmission in neutral, press down on the service brake or set the parking brakes (depending on your district’s policy). Turn off the AM/FM radio and all other noisy equipment; ask passengers for quiet.
  4. Stop where you have the best view of the tracks, no closer than 15 feet and no farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail. Check beyond the tracks for traffic congestion, a signal or stop sign. Be certain the containment area across the tracks is large enough to hold the entire bus, plus 15 feet. (Emphasis added.)
  5. Open the service door and driver's window. Look and listen for an approaching train in both directions. Proceed only after checking the crossing signals.
  6. Go. When certain that no train is approaching on any track, do not hesitate. Cross in low gear and do not change gears while crossing.
Operation Lifesaver also offers an e-learning program for school bus drivers and other resources that can be accessed on this NASDPTS page.

With the 20th anniversary of the Fox River Grove tragedy, this week is a fitting time to review rail crossing safety procedures at your operation.
Terry Parsons Gives Thumbs Up To More School Bus Cameras

Written By: CBC News
Article Date: October 24, 2015

A decision to install high-quality cameras on two more school buses in Conception Bay South (NL) is being applauded by a local bus company owner.

"I'd say it's about time," Terry Parsons laughs. "With all due respect, people have been driving through the red lights on school buses for a long time. They do it with impunity."

The Department of Education is expanding a pilot project started in 2013 with cameras that weren't of high enough quality to allow police to get convictions. In 2014, the project continued with high definition cameras. This September, the department added two more camera systems for C.B.S.

Parsons, owner/operator of Parsons and Sons Transportation, said he's even been parked in school yards, dropping kids off, and people drive through the lights. When he speaks to the offenders, they tell him they're in the school yard and they don't have to stop for the lights.

Buses seen as 'obstacles'

He told the St. John's Morning Show the same thing has happened when picking up kids on field trips from places like The Rooms.

"The lights on a school bus are a stop sign...and they mean you stop, no matter where you are," he said.

Parsons said people ignoring lights on school buses, "happens a lot," especially in Conception Bay South

"We're standing outside St. George's Elementary, and this has to be the worst area because it's the four-lane highway," he said. "And people drive the four-lane highway like it's the Indianapolis speedway … They see a school bus — not as a school bus carrying children — they see it as an obstacle."

The pilot project started with 10 cameras located in the western, central and Burin regions of the province with the intent of recording vehicles passing buses when the stop arm was extended or lights flashing, according to an NLESD statement.

The school district said to date, there have been 33 incidents reported to police, 18 charges laid, and five convictions. In all instances where charges were laid, there were cameras on the buses.
Three-Point Seat Belt Issue To Be Front and Centre At NAPT Summit

Written By: School Transportation News (STN)
Article Date: October 26, 2015

Christopher Hart has been an NAPT Summit fixture for the past several years. The heir to Deborah Hersman as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board in 2012, Hart first spoke to NAPT attendees and those attending the concurrent NASDPTS Annual Meeting while still serving as vice-chairman, namely about the need for lap-shoulder seat belts on school buses, as well as collision warning systems, lane departure systems and active braking and adaptive.

NTSB has called on NAPT, along with NSTA and NASDPTS, to provide its members with educational materials on lap-shoulder belts providing the highest level of occupant protection, and to advise states or districts to consider the technology when purchasing new buses.

But Hart’s and NTSB’s views on three-point seat belts, and that all school buses should have them because they improve compartmentalization during some frontal, side-impact and rollover crashes, conflict with the NAPT’s official stance that saying they "cannot in good faith" advise their members on proper installation because of "significant and confliction policy differences" at the federal level and the lack of the latest in scientific testing. NAPT also has said its members question if improving compartmentalization is a good use of funds.

Hart returns to NAPT on Nov. 9 in Richmond, Virginia, and will be joined by former NTSB board member and current NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind a day earlier to discuss how the safety of the yellow bus could be even greater with technology. Over the summer, Rosekind called a meeting to discuss school bus safety and promised an announcement this fall that would provide “operational and policy challenges and solutions,” as well as “innovative funding approaches” to lap-shoulder belts.

"NAPT strongly encourages Chairman Hart and particularly Administrator Rosekind to explain clearly and unambiguously to local officials across the country why optional equipment like seat belts should be selected over other available choices that might also improve school transportation safety,” said NAPT President Keith Henry in a statement.

He added that NHTSA has previously said that “requiring seat belts on large school buses is likely to have the effect of increasing fatalities related to school transportation” when it revised FMVSS 222 in 2009. Additional NHTSA analysis, Henry continued, indicated that “...a national lap/shoulder belt requirement for large school buses could result in an increase of 10 to 19 student fatalities annually in the US.”

"We very much look forward to hearing, reading, analyzing and discussing what they have to say in Richmond," added NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin
School Bus Safety Week Posters For OSBA Members

We hope that you had a wonderful School Bus Safety Week last week!  Due to unforeseen circumstances advised by Canada Post Oct. 21st, the School Bus Safety Week poster was not mailed by Canada Post when originally delivered to their facilities.  We understand that some members may have received their posters very late last week, or have still not received them to date.   We apologize for the delay in members receiving these posters but hope that they may still serve as a colourful reminder regarding the daily importance of school bus safety.  We trust that next year’s distribution will reach members in a more timely manner.
If you have not received the posters to date, and would still like copies as an ongoing safety reminder in your facilities, please contact us at
Upcoming Events

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