On the Beat in Bluffton

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bluffton-Harrison school board to vote on new air quality regulations

As part of new state rules, the Bluffton-Harrison school board must vote on the following policy regarding vehicles idling. Learn more in the Tuesday, Dec. 13, News-Banner.

This purpose of this policy is to eliminate all unnecessary idling by corporation school buses such that idling time is minimized in all aspects of school bus operation and to reduce vehicle exhaust that has the potential to be drawn into the building.

Vehicle exhaust from idling school buses can accumulate in and around the bus and pose a health risk to children, drivers and the community at large. Exposure to vehicle exhaust can cause lung damage and respiratory problems. Vehicle exhaust also exacerbates asthma and existing allergies, and long-term exposure may increase the risk of lung cancer. Idling buses waste fuel and financial resources of the school corporation.

This policy applies to the operation of every corporation-owned school bus and public and private vehicles on school grounds.

Public and Private Vehicles Idling Time
1. Drivers of all public and private vehicles are to turn off the engine if the vehicle is to be stopped more than 3 minutes in locations where vehicle exhaust may be drawn into the building or while on school grounds.

Corporation Vehicle Idling Time
1. When school bus drivers arrive at loading or unloading areas to drop off or pick up passengers, they should turn off their buses as soon as possible to eliminate idling time and reduce harmful emissions. The school bus should not be restarted until it is ready to depart and there is a clear path to exit the pick-up area.
2. School buses will not idle (on school grounds or off school grounds) for longer than five (5) minutes unless:
  • There are extreme weather conditions (meaning 30 degrees Fahrenheit or less) and the purpose is to warm the interior of the bus,
  • Longer idling time is necessary to facilitate the loading and unloading of students of special needs,
  • There are safety or emergency situations,
  • There are maintenance or mechanical inspection/repair issues requiring a longer time to facilitate the inspection/repair process, or
  • The bus is idling in traffic.
3. Buses should not idle while waiting for students during field trips, extracurricular activities or other events where students are transported off school grounds.
4. In colder weather, schools are directed to provide a space inside a facility where bus drivers who arrive early can wait.
5. Bus schedules should be revised so that school bus caravanning can be avoided and the cleanest buses assigned to the longest routes.

No comments: