Strobe Lights on School Buses
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<!-- field: HtmlTitle -->Strobe Lights on School Buses
Topic:
SAFETY (GENERAL); SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION;
Location:
SCHOOLS - TRANSPORTATION;

OLR Research Report OLR Research Report


February 6, 1998 98-R-0223

TO:

FROM: Chelsea Turner, Legislative Fellow

RE: Strobe Lights on School Buses

You requested information on strobe lights on school buses.

SUMMARY

According to Blue Bird Body Company, a leading manufacturer of school buses and school bus parts, ten states require their school buses to be equipped with roof mount strobe lights. An additional 14 states have transportation specifications that permit the use of these devices (see Table 1. ) In the remaining states, including Connecticut, the laws are silent on this issue. Sargent Cumbo of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles stated that there are buses in Connecticut with roof mount strobe lights. This may be as a result of a town ordinance or simply because a school bus manufacturing company has decided to equip their buses with them. There is a demonstration project currently taking place in Southern Connecticut to assess the benefit of strobe lights.

The purpose of equipping buses with roof mount strobe lights is to alert motorists that a school bus is in the vicinity. This may be especially helpful in severe weather conditions, such as rain, fog, smog, and snow, where the vision of approaching motorists is more obscured.

Additional Information

Diane Wigel, Highway Safety Specialist at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is compiling a report on school bus safety across the states. One of the questions she asked each state to answer was whether the state required school buses to be equipped with strobe lights on the tops of buses. The tentative list of states that require strobe lights is: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, and Iowa. Also, in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin buses may have strobe lights, but they are not required to have them. In North Dakota, all buses manufactured after July 31, 1988 will be equipped with strobe lights. (The final report should be available in about two months and OLR will be receiving a copy. )

Table 1

State Requirements for Strobe Lights Across the 50 States

State

Strobe Required

Strobe Optional

Alabama:

X

Alaska:

X

Arizona:

Arkansas:

X

California:

X

Colorado:

X

Connecticut:

Delaware:

Florida:

X

Georgia:

X

Hawaii:

Idaho:

Illinois:

X

Indiana:

Iowa:

X

Kansas:

X

Kentucky:

X

Louisiana:

Maine:

X

Maryland:

Massachusetts:

Michigan:

Minnesota:

X

Mississippi:

X

Missouri:

X

Montana:

X

Nebraska:

X

Nevada:

New Hampshire:

New Jersey:

New Mexico:

New York:

North Carolina:

North Dakota:

Ohio:

Oklahoma:

Oregon:

X

Pennsylvania:

Rhode Island:

South Carolina:

X

South Dakota:

Tennessee:

Texas:

X

Utah:

Vermont:

Virginia:

X

Washington:

West Virginia:

X

Wisconsin:

X

Wyoming:

X

TOTALS

10

14

Source: Blue Bird Body Company, February 1998; contact Steve Mann at (912)822-2377.

CT: pa