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School Bus Safety, Regular And Otherwise


schoolbus.jpgYou never know what issue is going to pop up in the news, but today there are at least a couple of articles about school buses, of all things -- their safety (Little Consistency in Bus Safety Standards NYT), and -- yikes! -- their potential use by terrorists (FBI: Foreign extremists sign up to drive school buses AP).

From the AP story: Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said "parents and children have nothing to fear."


The yellow school bus we all know and love actually started with an effort to establish bus safety. In 1937, Frank W. Cyr, then a professor of rural education at Teachers College, convened a meeting to set standards for school transportation. At the time, children rode in everything from wagons to vans. The conferees agreed on a set of specifications, including size and the color--designed to distinguish the buses from other vehicles--which has come to be known as National School Bus Yellow.

Fifty years after the conference, I got to interview Frank Cyr, who was at the time in his 90s and living in upstate New York. (He told me the color always "looked orange" to him.) He's since gone off to the great bus depot in the sky, but not before getting some recognition for his role in creating a national icon.

Looks like it's time for another standards conference.

fascinating background, bob -- thanks for the comment.

and for those of us who aren't sure about the color, or want to know more of the history, check out this wikipedia entry:


thanks again.

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