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6 Things You Never Knew About the Yellow School Bus

January 6, 2017

School buses have long been a symbol of wholesomeness. They’re suburban, they’re conspicuous, they’re, well, ubiquitous! Think you know everything about the Big Yellow Bus? Think again. Here are six things you never would have guessed about the typical school bus.


1. School buses are yellow because of science.
Of course you realize that the bright yellow color of school buses is meant to be attention-grabbing, but did you know the noticeability of yellow has actually been scientifically proven? Yellow is the most easily-detectable color by the human eye, particularly peripherally. It’s over 1.24 times more noticeable than red! In some states it’s actually required by law for school buses to be yellow to ensure they’re as visible as possible.


2. That famous yellow color used to be toxic.
Speaking of school bus yellow, did you know that the original paint color used for all school buses in America was highly toxic? Developed in 1939, “National School Bus Chrome” contained actual chromium, a deadly-poisonous element. After decades of use the color was changed to something more harmless but not before exposing hundreds of mechanics and bus painters to extremely toxic paint.


3. Buses weren’t standardized until the 1930s.

For dozens of years, kids were transported to school using makeshift vehicles. In the 1930s, school buses became subject to 44 national standards including the “California top” rounded roof, flashing lights, and that unmistakable yellowness. Standards were put in place for bus maintenance and driver training, too.


4. They don’t have seatbelts because they’re already so safe.

It’s a common question: Why don’t school buses have seatbelts? The answer is complicated but as you might guess, cost is a huge factor. Estimates say it would take over $800 million to outfit all buses with seatbelts nationwide. Buses already have safety features you might not notice including intentionally-squished seats that provide a “protective envelope” around children. Experts say kids are used to sitting properly without belts in buses and that adding them may just reverse this safe habit.


5. School buses are safer than almost any other vehicle.

Because they’re designed to protect our most precious cargo, school buses are actually subject to some of the strictest safety codes on the road. Drivers are required to undergo hours of regular safety training, too. It’s no wonder students are over 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely in a bus than any other way.


6. Buses aren’t typically tracked by schools.

Most of the 480,000+ school buses on the road today aren’t being tracked by schools or parents. Although school buses move over 26,000,000 students to and from school each day, a majority aren’t outfitted with GPS equipment, location-enabled trackers, or other meaningful technology. That’s changing. Companies like UbicaBus are making it simple and cost-effective for both schools and parents to keep tabs on buses. School bus tracking improves safety, keeps buses on schedule, and provides much-needed peace of mind to both parents and administrators.

Who knew such a commonplace vehicle could have such a colorful backstory? School buses aren’t just the workhorses of the road, they’re protectors of our children. Here’s how UbicaBus is contributing.

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