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  • Take a look at this school bus from 1939.

  • 80 years later, it looks almost exactly the same.

  • Some buses don't even have seat belts.

  • Meanwhile, cars have undergone massive redesigns

  • in that same time period.

  • How can a vehicle designed to safely

  • transport kids seem so out of date?

  • In the US, school buses transport

  • 26 million kids every day.

  • Before buses, kids rode to school

  • in horse-drawn "school wagons."

  • By the 1930s, roads had expanded

  • and more types of automobiles were available,

  • which meant school buses were more common.

  • But early school buses were a hodgepodge

  • of different styles and types of vehicles.

  • Not great for safety or cost-effectiveness.

  • Just look at these New York Times headlines

  • from the '30s.

  • There were no universal standards

  • for all buses to follow.

  • But in 1939, all that started to change.

  • Frank Cyr was a professor of rural education

  • at Columbia University.

  • He recognized the role school buses played

  • in rural education, finding that,

  • "from 1926 to 1938 the number

  • of school buses increased 132%."

  • Cyr led a conference of transportation officials,

  • educators, and school-bus manufacturers.

  • The group came up with the

  • "Minimum standards for school buses,"

  • a set of 44 rules all buses should adhere to.

  • This included details like length,

  • aisle width, and even the iconic yellow color.

  • The group chose yellow because

  • it was the most quickly identified on the road

  • and the black lettering stood out even in dim light.

  • A lot of what you see in modern buses

  • was first decided at that conference.

  • But it's been 80 years.

  • Something must have changed since then, right?

  • It might not look like it,

  • but there have been a lot of changes inside the bus,

  • including rollover protection,

  • safer fuel systems, and taller seats.

  • Although a few notable additions do stand out,

  • like wheelchair accessibility,

  • emergency-exit windows, and the stop-sign arm.

  • So the changes have been incremental,

  • as opposed to a huge redesign.

  • But that's actually not a problem.

  • Because school buses are the safest way to get to school.

  • 70 times safer than a car, according to the

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • From 2008 to 2017,

  • 71 passengers were killed in school-bus crashes.

  • Out of 26 million daily riders.

  • In fact, the number of deaths each year

  • is less than 1% of nationwide traffic deaths.

  • So, what makes school buses so safe?

  • Well, you might have noticed that school buses

  • are big and heavy,

  • over seven times heavier than a car when filled.

  • That means they can absorb a crash better

  • and passengers feel less force in a crash.

  • Their solid frame also helps prevent damage in a rollover.

  • But it's not just their size.

  • The color, flashing lights,

  • and stop signal all help keep school buses safe.

  • In fact, school buses are the most

  • regulated vehicles on the road.

  • And because they're all the same,

  • they're easily recognized,

  • and nearby drivers know to be extra cautious.

  • A drastic design change, like the color,

  • could modernize the look.

  • But it might not get the attention of drivers

  • as quickly.

  • Oh, and if you're wondering about the seat belts,

  • big school buses don't need them.

  • They use something called "crash protection

  • through compartmentalization" to protect riders.

  • Those unassuming seats are actually designed

  • to absorb the energy of a crash

  • and cushion the impact.

  • Although eight states currently

  • require seat belts on buses.

  • But the smaller buses that are closer

  • to the size of a van do need seat belts.

  • So, the school bus you rode in as a kid

  • is probably similar to the one your parents rode in.

  • But changes might be coming.

  • Remember the conference that Frank Cyr led?

  • It's now called

  • the National Congress on School Transportation.

  • It meets about every five years

  • to vote on changes to school-bus standards.

  • This year's topics could include things

  • like electric buses and tracking apps.

  • But whether it's to save money,

  • reduce pollution, or modernize the look,

  • all changes have to fulfill the same basic requirement

  • Frank Cyr had in 1939.

  • Does this make school buses safer?

Take a look at this school bus from 1939.

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B1 中級

なぜスクールバスはまだ同じように見えるのか? (Why Do School Buses Still Look The Same?)

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    Taka に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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