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Bus Safety Measure Proposed

January 10, 1997
By: ELIZABETH McKINLEY
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri school buses could have one more safety feature - two medal rods that extend from the front of the bus 10 feet to prevent children from being hit by the bus.

These "safety arms" flip out once the bus is stopped for loading and unloading. Because of the design of many school buses, drivers often cannot see children who are directly in front of the bus. The crossing-control arms designed to keep children out of this blind spot.

Gov. Mel Carnahan announced Thursday he will propose legislation to require these safety features be installed in Missouri's school buses by the beginning of the 1998 school year.

"These arms will clearly improve the safety of our schoolchildren throughout Missouri," Carnahan said.

Since 1989, six children have been killed by school buses.

"What you try to do is anticipate dangers that are foreseeable. Having that blind spot it's very foreseeable this sort of this is going to happen again," Carnahan said.

It would cost the state $1.7 million to install these safety arms on Missouri's school buses. That money would come from the Public Safety Department's budget.

Of the 12,900 school buses in Missouri, 9,500 buses would be required to have the feature installed if the legislation is passed into law.

Some school districts in the state already have the crossing-control arms installed on their school buses.