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Sensored, safety school bus to be introduced in Kanawha County

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Sensored, safety school bus to be introduced in Kanawha County
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews

ELKVIEW, W.Va. — A New Jersey bill that requires sensors on school buses is gaining a lot of attention in West Virginia.

The legislation named “Abigail’s Law” follows the death of Abigail Kuberiet — a child struck and killed by a school bus as it pulled away from a stop in 2003. The bus driver didn’t see her in front the bus or know the accident happened until contacted via radio after traveling several blocks. The bill is awaiting Gov. Chris Christie’s approval.

On Monday, Rostra Precision Controls introduced to Kanawha County school transportation officials a Safety Bus equipped with sensors on the front, both sides and rear of the vehicle, cameras and video displays inside the bus, so drivers are alerted where students and parents are located.

“There’s a display in there that tells them which sensor, which field has something setting off that area. The driver can use its visuals to make sure that there’s nothing there. We’re trying to prevent tragedy,” said Mike Gaborcik, national sales manager of the company.

Gaborcik was in Elkview to help present the bus for the first time in West Virginia.

“I see the system being critical in the morning. Kids are late. They’re running for buses. Maybe we have a little snow or something like we do now. They slip. They slide. They fall. We don’t want them under the bus,” he said.

Also, several video screens are located inside the bus above the seats to show students what goes on outside and inside the vehicle.

“Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy to get people to think,” Gaborcik said of the New Jersey incident.

“The county here has been very forward thinking and very aggressive in looking at technology to protect the kids.”

Brette Fraley, transportation director of Kanawha County schools, told MetroNews the sensors in total would cost $2,000 for each bus. He said the school system is considering the installation.

The Safety Bus will soon be brought to schools around the county to show students and parents how the system works.