Hattiesburg Public School District is among a handful of school districts nationwide testing a guard designed to push any student who falls in front of the passenger-side rear wheels out of the bus’s path.
District transportation director Audrae Barnes told The Hattiesburg American that he met with C.E. White Co. officials at the National Association of Pupil Transportation Conference in October and volunteered the district for the pilot project.
“Mississippi has gotten bad press about the stream of children being struck by motorists passing school buses,” Barnes said. “I want Hattiesburg to be part of any project that tries to make students safer when riding a school bus.”
The shield, which is installed in front of the right rear double wheels, also is being tested in two school districts in Ohio and probably will be tested in the West, said Steve Frazee, director of Product and OEM Development with C.E. White Co. of New Washington, Ohio.
Barnes said that during his eight years as transportation director, no student has fallen near the rear wheels of a bus. But he said the right rear wheels are more dangerous because that’s the side with the door.
Barnes said the guard will be installed on a bus which runs to Hattiesburg High School, Rowan Elementary School and N.R. Burger Middle School.
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