OKLAHOMA CITY — The majority of school buses do not have air conditioning. Last summer’s heat made that more of a concern from some districts.
While they did what they could to keep students safe, now the State Department of Education’s Transportation Department has outlined new guidelines for new buses in an effort to help keep students cool during Oklahoma’s hottest seasons.
Trent Gibson, director of transportation for the Oklahoma State Board of Education, said, “We want to make sure students are transported safely and efficiently as possible.”
The State Board of Education is making some changes when it comes to new school buses.
Starting next fall any brand new buses will be required to have certain features to keep them cooler when temperatures soar.
Gibson said, “What we’re trying to do is provide guidance and help to make sure a minimum standard is met.”
The new standards state buses shall have white roofs, tinted windows, fans for the drivers and an alternator big enough to support an air conditioner if the school chooses to add one.
Gibson said, “Most buses already have that but we want to make sure when we buy buses that we begin with some understanding of what the summer could be like.”
Scott Lane with Oklahoma City Public Schools Transportation Department said most of their buses already meet those standards.
Lane said, “There’s really not that much extra cost and it just helps when it’s hot outside.”
Another change, using LED lights on buses.
Gibson said, “In the early morning and afternoon when you have glare, the LED lights will make that much more noticeable for drivers.”
They are all small changes to keep Oklahoma children safe and more comfortable.
The changes are not applied to used buses, only to those manufactured after September 29, 2012.
The changes were approved by the State Board of Education in their meeting last week.