Bendix: The Road to Safer School Buses

Sign up for our weekly email to stay on top of the latest news and insights!

Source: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announcement

AVON, Ohio – The classic yellow school bus is a symbol of safety in America, and for good reason: It is well documented as the safest form of student transportation. In support of 2022 National School Bus Safety Week, which happens Oct. 17-21, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC offers a glimpse at technologies and training developed to make school bus transportation across North America even safer.

School buses are the focus of National School Bus Safety Week, a public education program from the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) that is designed to promote school bus safety. This celebration of the mighty school bus – which carries more than 25 million children every day – happens the third full week of October every year.

Students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when traveling by school bus than when riding in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, referencing American School Bus Council data. NAPT wants to do even better: The group is aiming for an entire school year free of fatalities no later than the school year ending June 30, 2025, as part of its “Zip. Zero. Nada. None.” campaign.

“We partner with school districts and vehicle manufacturers across North America in an effort to deploy the latest technologies and training,” said TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions – Controls at Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles. “Bendix does this by providing technologies to school bus OEMs, which then supply them to school bus fleets with each new vehicle order.

“Ensuring bus OEMs and fleets are knowledgeable and eager to incorporate our suite of safety technologies is just one way we can support NAPT’s mission: helping keep student passengers safe, and supporting the drivers piloting the buses every day.”

ADAS Advantage

NAPT’s strategy in its zero-fatality campaign includes encouraging the utilization of the latest vehicle safety equipment and technology, such as electronic stability control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation, air disc brakes, and electronic parking brakes.

Driver-assistance technologies are proven, and school bus manufacturers continue to see value in them, as evidenced by the number of technology demonstrations that Bendix conducts for the OEMs,” Thomas said. “The manufacturers are making them available in growing numbers, with school bus fleets increasingly adopting them.”

The Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system has been standard equipment on air-braked buses at both Blue Bird and IC Bus since 2018. This despite full-stability technology – while already mandatory on most motorcoaches and commercial vehicles – not being required for school buses.

Bendix ESP utilizes a system of sensors and advanced algorithms to recognize and potentially mitigate conditions that could lead to rollover and loss of control. It functions in a wide range of driving and road conditions, including snowy, ice-covered, and slippery surfaces, and can activate the brakes in ways the driver cannot replicate.

Full-stability systems like Bendix ESP also provide the technological foundation for more advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including collision mitigation technologies such as Bendix® Wingman® Advanced™ – A Collision Mitigation Technology and Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™, the company’s flagship system.

Bendix Wingman Advanced 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 mitigate or potentially lessen the severity of rear-end collisions.

Bendix Wingman Fusion 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, Fusion uses multisystem integration to create a detailed and accurate data picture, setting it apart from radar-only systems.

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

“Adoption of full-stability and collision mitigation on school buses has earned the support of the National Transportation Safety Board and NAPT,” Thomas said. “We’re proud to work with our industry partners to help these effective, road-proven systems make a difference on the roads today.”

Bendix safety technologies complement safe driving practices, Thomas noted. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.

Air Disc Brake Difference

As with driver-assistance technologies, more districts are equipping vehicles with air disc brakes, which provide shorter stopping distances than drum brakes and perform with little to no brake fade. During stop-and-go usage – like a school bus route – or downhill applications, drum brakes can heat up and experience decreased performance. The design of air disc brakes all but eliminates fade. Air disc brakes also provide shorter, smoother, and more stable stops than drum brakes.

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.

Sign up for our weekly email to stay on top of the latest news and insights!

The Brake Report
The Brake Report

The BRAKE Report is an online media platform dedicated to the automotive and commercial vehicle brake segments. Our mission is to provide the global brake community with the latest news & headlines from around the industry.