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Yellow school buses provide crash protection to their occupants that is unequalled by any other vehicle type. Studies and research on crashes, simulated crashes, and the unique safety equipment required in school buses provide more detailed information on this unparalleled level of crash protection.
Under Title 49 CFR Part 571, school buses sold in the United States must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) applicable only to school buses, as well as the FMVSS applicable to all other vehicle types. Additionally, the National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) recommends national school transportation specifications that augment the federal standards. Many states also adopt required specifications for school buses and components to meet local needs.
School bus procurement (purchasing) is handled in a variety of ways across the US. Several states and private contractors have volume purchasing programs, and in others local school districts have their own procurement programs. There are many factors that must be weighed in determining the need to replace school buses, including ongoing improvements in new school bus safety technology, cost of maintaining older buses, and the life cycle costs of existing and new buses, including the initial purchase price.
School buses, like all other vehicle types, have become increasingly complex. Electronics and other advances in technology have changed the way school buses are inspected, diagnosed, and maintained. Training, diagnostic equipment, web-based service manuals and bulletins, and other resources are available to fleet managers and technicians to stay ahead of this curve.