Kaufman Independent School District Bus #2, left, is shown with a new First Light Safety illuminated school bus sign, along with a regular bus and signs, right. The new technology will help prevent collisions and ensure safety for KISD bus riders.

Kaufman ISD’s Department of Transportation is working to increase safety for all school bus riders in the district. KISD is now one of the first in the state to use First Light Safety’s Illuminated School Bus Sign. 

With the safety of school bus passengers in mind, KISD has teamed-up with First Light Safety to implement state-of-the-art technology into the district’s transportation system. 

“This is all about the safety of the kids,” said KISD Director of TransportationPatrick Cardoza. Many Kaufman students use the bus as means of transportation to school five days a week. Cardoza noted that KISD averagesmore than 1,600 rides per day. Of these, many of them are picked up and dropped off on major roads such as Highway 175, FM 2727, and FM 243. In these cases, students are often picked up at early hours while it is still dark outside. Of course, darkness lessens the visibility of the buses for other drivers. Additionally, bad weather can create lack of visibility. KISD is taking aim to resolve this issue and, ultimately, save lives. First Light’s illuminated technology proactively prevents accidents and fatalities, therefore, increases student safety. The signs serve the aforementioned cases suitably, as driver’s visibility will be greatly enhanced to see KISD buses using the new technology. The first KISD bus to receive the product has stops on Highway 175. 

The signs are visible from more than 1,000 feet away and readable at about 300 feet. This allows motorists time to recognize and react to the school bus.These safety improvements hope to prevent many potential accidents and fatalities. It’s worth noting that in more than 25% of school bus accidents, drivers cite they did not realize it was a school bus, according to First Light. Furthermore, a 2019 National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) survey reported 95,319 stop arm violations in a single day. This data was gathered from school bus driver’s across 39 states. That number extrapolated across a 180-day school year equals over 17 million violations. 

First Light Safety’s large, bight, and uniform signs distinguish the school bus from other emergency vehicles on the road. “We want to illicit the same response as an emergency vehicle - proceed with caution or stop,” stated First Light Safety representative Cam Quan. In conversations on this new product, both First Light and KISD are emphasizing safety of the students above all else. 

Cardoza hopes to raise the proper funds to install this ground-breaking equipment on each KISD bus. “With funding, this is a slow process,” stated Cardoza. “Our goal is to have every bus operating with this product.”

First Light Safety Products is a subsidiary of Smartrend Supply Ltd., a leading manufacturer of customer-specific components and assemblies for transportation and general industrial applications. More information about bus safety is at www.firstlightsafety.com.

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