Bendix: on the Road to Safer School Buses

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Source: Bendix announcement

ELYRIA, Ohio – During National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 19-23), Bendix offers a look at the technologies that manufacturers are providing, and school districts are adopting – in growing numbers – to make student transportation safer for everyone on the roads.

National School Bus Safety Week is a public education program from the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) designed to promote school bus safety the third, full week of October each year. The NAPT’s “Zip. Zero. Nada. None.” campaign is aiming for an entire school year free of such fatalities no later than the school year ending June 30, 2025.

“It’s well-documented that taking the school bus is the safest way for students to get there – 70 times safer than walking, bicycling, or riding in a passenger car or light truck, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data,” said T.J. Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions – Controls. “Drivers of these buses carry nearly 25 million children on regular routes. You look at those numbers, and it’s easy to see why the NAPT encourages equipping school bus fleets with the latest safety systems and braking components from the ground up.”

Related post:
Bendix Efforts Helping Make School Buses Safer

The Air Disc Brake Difference

Safety – in the form of reliable and improved stopping power – has been a major factor in the increasing availability and adoption of air disc brakes on school buses in recent years. Where drum brakes can heat up and experience decreased performance during downhill applications or stop-and-go usage, such as on a school bus route, the design of air disc brakes virtually eliminates this brake fade. Air disc brakes also provide shorter, smoother, and more stable stops than drum brakes.

“We introduced the Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brake to the school bus market in 2008, and adoption has really picked up in the past five years or so, to the point where now there are generally a couple thousand new school buses hitting the road with air disc brakes each year,” said Keith McComsey, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions – Wheel-End. “The safety difference is especially striking to see in action: We recently conducted a Virtual School Bus Demo that included a side-by-side look at the real-world effect of brake fade on stopping distance, and it’s pretty eye-opening.”

All of North America’s major school bus manufacturers – including Blue Bird Corporation, Navistar’s IC Bus, and Thomas Built Buses – offer the industry-leading ADB22X as a factory-installed option.

In addition, air disc brakes at the wheel-ends help optimize performance of the higher-level safety systems that are also becoming more common in school bus fleets.

Advantages of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Since 2018, both Blue Bird and IC Bus have made Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system standard equipment on air-braked buses, even though full-stability technology – already mandatory on most motorcoaches and commercial trucks – is not a requirement for school buses. Bendix ESP functions in a wide range of driving and road conditions, including snowy, ice-covered, and slippery surfaces, utilizing a system of sensors to recognize and mitigate conditions that could lead to rollover and loss of control.

Full-stability systems like Bendix ESP also provide the technological foundation for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including the Bendix® Wingman® family of collision mitigation systems.

Bendix® Wingman® Advanced™ – A Collision Mitigation Technology uses a single radar sensor mounted to the front of the vehicle to deliver active cruise control with braking features, providing both warnings and active interventions to help drivers potentially avoid rear-end collisions, or at least help reduce their severity. Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ – the company’s flagship technology – integrates a forward-facing camera with the radar and the vehicle’s brake system, creating a comprehensive driver assistance system. With a suite of sensors working together, and not just in parallel, Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ uses deep, multisystem integration to create a detailed and accurate data picture, setting it apart from radar-only systems.

IC Bus became the first North American school bus manufacturer to offer collision mitigation technology as a standard feature in 2018, spec’ing Bendix® Wingman® Advanced™ on its CE Series and RE Series, and offering Wingman Fusion as an option on the CE Series.

“These are road-proven, effective systems making a difference on the road right now,” Thomas said, “and both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and NAPT support the adoption of full-stability and collision mitigation on school buses. We’re proud to partner with school districts and bus manufacturers to make that happen.”

The entire announcement can be viewed by clicking HERE.

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