NAPT MultiView News Brief
Dec. 7, 2010

OPUP: Operation UpCycle
NAPT
Are you interested in saving money AND putting a brand new engine in your older model school buses? How about reducing your dependence on foreign oil and creating "green" jobs? If your answer is "YES!" then you may want to learn how to "OpUp."

The Tulsa, Okla. Public Schools claims with the money they'll save by using NAPT's school bus revitalization program — Operation UpCycle — they will be able to hire more than a dozen teachers! To learn more and to see if you qualify, visit the OpUp website: www.operationupcycle.org.More

Alabama Supreme Court rules in favor of bus crash families
WHNT-19 News
The Alabama Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the Lee High School, Huntsville, Ala., bus crash. It's good news for more than half a dozen victims of the Lee High bus crash. Originally, they sued the bus manufacturer Navistar and its subsidiary IC Bus LLC. They filed the suit a little more than two years after the November 2006 accident.More

Ray LaHood: Street sign regulations 'make no sense'
ABC News
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is backing off plans by the agency to force thousands of localities to replace their perfectly good road signs. The reversal comes after ABC News reported on new regulations that would have forced all cities and towns to buy new street signs. "I believe that this regulation makes no sense. It does not properly take into account the high costs that local governments would have to bear. States, cities, and towns should not be required to spend money that they don't have to replace perfectly good traffic signs," said LaHood in a statement released recently. More

Arkansas students learn while they ride on high-tech school bus
Devil's Lake Daily Journal
Students in the woodsy, working-class Hector School District can now look at more than the Ozark National Forest in the two-plus hours they spend on the school bus each day. The Pope County district is participating in a new program believed to be the first of its kind — the school is playing science and math content over ceiling-mounted computer screens during the lengthy bus rides. The district is working with Vanderbilt University's Aspirnaut Program to turn the bus into a mobile classroom of sorts. The project aims to engage students — and take advantage of the fact that they're a captive audience with few distractions, Cushman said.More

Deficit Commission wants to raise the gas Tax 15 cents
The Infrastructurist
The gasoline tax drives fear into the hearts of most politicians. The last time the gas tax surfaced, Senators Tom Carper and George Voinovich had written a letter to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform suggesting it be raised. Since then a trio of think tanks has thrown its support behind raising the tax. Recently the deficit commission recommended a plan to reduce the country's debt some $3.8 trillion by 2020 that includes hiking the gas tax 15 cents between 2013 and 2015.More

Bus law meant to protect kids has major loophole
WTVR
State code can sometimes be written in such a convoluted manner, it's hard to know what exactly a law means. But one thing is for sure about Virginia's 40-year-old bus safety statute that makes it illegal to pass a school bus while it's picking up or dropping off children: it's missing a word. A very costly word. A man in Northern Virginia was recently acquitted of a reckless driving charge because his attorney argued there's no evidence the man "failed to stop any school bus." The wording in the Virginia state law should read, "a person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop....AT any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway."More

NHTSA study shows dramatic gains in seatbelt use from tougher laws and stiffer fines
AASHTO Journal
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week released new research that shows that states that strengthen seatbelt laws and increase fines for unbuckled motorists see substantially increased seatbelt use. "Seatbelts are the single most protective safety device ever invented for use in vehicles, saving thousands of lives each year," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in a statement. "Now our research proves that when states step up sanctions, they're rewarded with huge improvements in belt use."More

Robotic bus helps teach students about safety
The Troy Messenger
The students at Banks School, in Troy,Ala., had a blast with Buster the Talking School Bus recently, but when the laughter subsided, they took what Buster had to say seriously. Speaking in a robotic voice, Buster told the students that school bus safety is no laughing matter. "School bus safety starts at home," Buster said. Buster had a lot more to say but his sidekick, Bryan Nash, also wanted to talk. Nash, who has 30 years of experience in the public transportation field, joined Buster in an effort to let the students understand the important role they play in school bus safety. "You play a part in how safe the bus can be," Nash said.More

GE's 'electric bus of the future' combines lithium, sodium battery tech
Smart Planet
Researchers at General Electric said recently that they have achieved a breakthrough that could accelerate the electrification of fleet vehicles. GE's hybrid systems research team says its dual battery system — which it recently demonstrated on a zero-emissions hybrid transit bus — will help city bus fleets, delivery trucks and other large, heavy-duty vehicles go electric. More

School buses in Alaska shuttle added features
Anchorage Daily News
They are big, boxy and yellow, but they are not your grandfather's school buses. The buses run by First Student in Kodiak look like any other school buses, but have some added features that come in handy during Kodiak winters. One is automatic chains — chains mounted on bus wheels that a driver can activate by pushing a button. "They work very well for icy conditions," said local First Student contract manager Jerry Clark. More

Rear-view cameras on cars could become mandatory
The Los Angeles Times
The federal government wants automakers to install back-up cameras in all new vehicles starting in late 2014. The recently announced plan received a strong endorsement from insurance industry and other analysts and is likely to get some level of support from car manufacturers. "There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "The changes we are proposing today will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up."More