The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-17-2008, 11:04 PM
Charger Charger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Did School Buses Always Have the Stop Signs With the Flashing Lights?

I never thought much about the retractable stop signs with the flashing lights mounted on the left sides of school buses, but the question recently came up in a discussion with my girlfriend. She remembers a time when they started using them, meaning there had to have been a time where school buses did not have the stop signs. I assumed that they were always there. So, was this something they added to school buses some time during the 1980s, or maybe something that varied from state-to-state? If they weren't always standard, when did they become required?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 08-17-2008, 11:12 PM
stuyguy stuyguy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Your GF is certainly right -- they were not always there.

Yeah, I think I first started seeing those flip-out stop signs in the 1980's. They surprised me. (I also remember seeing one of those school buses with the long wire "wing" that stopped traffic in the other lane. Now that's just absurd, I remember thinking.)

FYI, my experience covers the NYC metro area.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-17-2008, 11:14 PM
Santo Rugger Santo Rugger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Here's a good start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_...safety_devices

Are you sure you're girlfriend isn't 20 years older than she claims?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-17-2008, 11:32 PM
Full Metal Lotus Full Metal Lotus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
I rode a school bus for many years (1966-1979), and watched them evolve.

Back in thge "old days" people seemed to "know" that you slowed down to a crawl to pass a school bus on the highway, as kids would be possibly crossing a highway.
But then tragic accidents happened enough that changes were made to the bus

First came the flashing lighting, which had to be triggered when the kid left the bus (circa 1974, if I remember correctly)

It wasn't until I was in jr high that the "swing out stop sign" happened. (circa 1977)

I was out of school when they introduced the flashing light on the swing out stop sign...

some drivers NEVER learn, or new ones won't.. STOP WHEN YOU SEE A SCHOOL BUS STOPPED in front of you...

Regards
FML
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-18-2008, 12:17 AM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Voting anti-obamanation
Posts: 10,300
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuyguy
Your GF is certainly right -- they were not always there.

Yeah, I think I first started seeing those flip-out stop signs in the 1980's. They surprised me. (I also remember seeing one of those school buses with the long wire "wing" that stopped traffic in the other lane. Now that's just absurd, I remember thinking.)

FYI, my experience covers the NYC metro area.
The long wire wing isn't there to stop traffic in the opposing lane. It's to force children exiting the bus and crossing in front of it to stay far enough from the vehicle to remain within sight of the driver. Little kids can easily fall into a blind spot, particularly with a conventional cab bus.
__________________
Crows. Keeping our highways clear of roadkill for over 80 years
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-18-2008, 01:21 AM
lawoot lawoot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
I don't remember the flip out, flashing stop sign from my early elementary years in Ohio (up to 2nd grade), but I do rememebr them in use when I moved to Kentucky in the third grade - 1972.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-18-2008, 08:32 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charger
She remembers a time when they started using them, meaning there had to have been a time where school buses did not have the stop signs. I assumed that they were always there.
She is right, they weren't always there. The first 'school bus' my daddy rode in wasn't yellow, or even a bus per se - it was a flatbed truck with the back covered over in pieces of tin.

Early school busses also lacked safety features such as warning lights and emergency exits:
Quote:
The watershed year for school bus safety was 1977, when requirements for most of the important safety features were put into place. Tragically, it took a fatal school bus accident to accomplish a goal of further safety. As a result of a major accident in Carrollton, Kentucky, in 1988, safety features were studied and later added to the FMVS standards. School buses manufactured after 1992 have even more critical safety equipment such as additional emergency exits, better mirrors for the driver to be able to see around the bus, and swing-out stop arms to alert motorists that children are getting on or off the bus.
From here.

Here is an article about the evolution of the "stop arm" for school busses.

An interesting timeline is here. Public transportation for pupils was approved by all 48 contiguous states by 1919. "School bus yellow" was not adopted until 1939.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.