Buses flipped upside-down rarely crumple. Buses with wheels lifted off the ground in rear-end accidents often drive away from the scene. And buses hit broadside usually just slide away from the impact. "It's built like a tank,” said Stephen Foster Jr., transportation director for Oklahoma City Public Schools. That is one of the greatest safety features of a bus, Foster said, adding that buses with significant damage are generally a sign of an accident of catastrophic proportions.
After-school alarmAnother safety feature ensures no child is left behind — asleep. All the district's buses now have one of two mechanisms that force drivers to walk to the back of the bus and either press a button or open the rear emergency door to keep an alarm from sounding. In doing so, they check for sleeping children, Foster said. And as for on-board fights that might threaten student safety, Foster said police officers are called in because the drivers cannot physically take any action. The district right now has only one camera, and it keeps students' behavior in check when it's placed on a bus, but only until it's needed on another bus, he said.