Company Marks National School Bus Safety Week with Appreciation for Drivers and a Look at Current and Future Vehicle Safety Systems
ELYRIA, Ohio – Oct. 11, 2017 – How many reasons do you need to make school buses as safe as possible? Bendix can think of more than 25 million: That’s how many students travel every day on school buses across the United States. And each one is more than enough reason to mark National School Bus Safety Week with deep appreciation for the drivers and school districts dedicated to safe bus transportation – and for Bendix to reaffirm its commitment to improving school bus safety technology.
“According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are almost 500,000 buses traveling a combined 260 million miles with students aboard each day,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs. “So whether it’s the continuous improvement of our brake products, or developing leading-edge driver assistance systems, the Bendix team is always working to help ensure America’s school bus drivers and their passengers are in the safest vehicles available.”
National School Bus Safety Week, sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), is a public education program promoting school bus safety. This year, it takes place Oct. 16-20. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC – the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles – supports the National School Bus Safety Week mission of making school bus transportation safer for all students.
The latest forthcoming safety technology from Bendix addresses an issue that can have tragic consequences for school bus drivers and riders: Rollaway crashes caused by improperly set or disengaged parking brakes.
Intellipark™ automatic parking brake technology replaces the manual air parking brake with easy-to-apply electronic switches, and uses interlocks installed in critical areas – the driver’s seat, seat belt, or cab door, for instance – to engage the brake if the driver leaves the seat or opens the door without setting it first. The system is designed for any air-braked vehicle, including school buses, with commercial vehicle fleet testing expected to begin in 2018.
“Within the past year or so, there have been two well-documented fatalities due to rollaway accidents, and a form of brake-pedal interlock technology has even been mandated in Virginia,” Andersky said. “Intellipark will provide an even more robust solution, and couple it with a parking brake activation system that better helps support the driver.”
The electronically controlled Intellipark features an improved, driver-friendly interface that replaces the push-pull dashboard knob with a switch that is easily pulled to engage and pushed to release the parking brakes. The switch displays the familiar yellow parking brake symbol, plus includes lights to indicate parking brake engagement to the driver.
Making a Difference
Newer to the school bus landscape – but already making a difference on the roads – are the proven safety technologies of air disc brakes and electronic stability control (ESC). Bendix often demonstrates these systems using a school bus equipped with Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brakes and the Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system.
Available from all major school bus OEMs, including Blue Bird Corporation, Thomas Built Buses, and IC Bus, the industry-leading ADB22X from Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) delivers significantly shorter stopping distances and a passenger car-like feel with consistently straight, stable stops and little to no brake fade. The performance of air disc brakes makes them ideal for pairing with Bendix ESP, which utilizes a system of sensors to recognize and mitigate conditions that could lead to rollover and loss of control. Full-stability technology functions in a wide range of driving and road conditions, including snowy, ice-covered, and slippery surfaces. Blue Bird was the first North American school bus manufacturer to offer stability technology, making Bendix® ESP® available as a factory-installed option in 2014.
“Based on the well-documented benefits and track records of these safety technologies on other commercial vehicles, we’re glad to see school districts consider making them part of their student transportation safety plans with the support and availability offered by trusted bus manufacturers,” Andersky said.
Foundational Technology and the Next Step
Full-stability systems like Bendix ESP also form the foundation for technologies that have the potential to increase school bus safety even further – for example, Bendix® Wingman®Fusion™, the company’s flagship driver assistance technology, is built on Bendix ESP.
Wingman Fusion integrates a forward-facing camera and radar, along with the vehicle’s brake system into a comprehensive driver assistance program. Gathering input through this suite of sensors working together, and not just in parallel, Fusion creates a highly detailed and accurate data picture using deep, multisystem integration, setting it apart from radar-only systems. The system’s camera is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.
“The positive response we’ve gotten from trucking fleets across the country that have implemented these systems leaves no doubt that there’s a significant role for advanced driver assistance to play in school bus safety as well,” Andersky said. “And while there’s no system that can replace a skilled, professional bus driver practicing safe driving habits, or the support of proactive, comprehensive driver training, technologies such as these are just one more way we try to equip drivers with the most effective tools for keeping students safe when they’re on the road.”
Bendix safety technologies are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving, and responsibility for the safe operation of any commercial vehicle remains with the driver at all times.
Bendix and its ever-growing portfolio of commercial vehicle technologies deliver on safety, vehicle performance and efficiency, and unparalleled post-sales support – all areas critical to the success of school bus fleets. By strengthening return on investment in the equipment and technologies that help school districts improve transportation and lower their total costs of vehicle ownership, the company aims to enhance the safety of school bus drivers, passengers, and all who share the road.
For more information about Bendix safety systems, call Bendix at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE or visit www.safertrucks.com/solutions. Deeper Bendix insight on advanced safety technology development, driver assistance systems, and commercial vehicle safety regulations – as well as a host of other product- and service-related content via podcasts, blogs, videos, and more – can be found in the Bendix multimedia center at knowledge-dock.com.