Press Release

Orange Unified School District Buses Roll Out with New Technology to Enhance Student Safety

Orange, CA (August 22, 2018) – Orange Unified School District (OUSD) buses headed to pick students up for the first day of the new school year this morning, each equipped with new technology to  further ensure the safety of student bus riders.

In accordance with SB 1072, a state law mandating that school buses operating in California have child safety alert systems installed and operational by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, each OUSD school bus has a Child Check-Mate System on board. The system consists of a device located at the interior rear of the bus that requires the driver to either manually contact or scan the device before exiting the vehicle, thereby prompting the driver to inspect the interior of the vehicle before exiting. The primary intent of the law, passed in 2016, is to ensure that students are not placed at risk of being left unattended on a school bus if the driver exits the vehicle.

While many school districts have struggled to comply with the state’s alert system installation deadline, OUSD began the process of retrofitting its entire fleet of 116 school buses earlier this year, as soon as updates to the education code and the specifications for the alert system technology were completed.

“Student safety is our top priority, and we are always looking for ways we can improve,” said Transportation Director Pam Mc Donald. “Adopting emerging technologies just makes sense.  We have utilized a previous version of Child Check-Mate since 2001, well before it was required by law, and will continue to seek innovative ways to enhance student safety.”

In addition to the Child Check-Mate System, OUSD buses continue to bring peace of mind to parents by allowing them track their child’s journey to and from school using Z Pass technology. Students in the bus pass program are issued radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards featuring their photo, bus stop and school. These ID cards are scanned upon entering and exiting the bus, securely transmitting the information to the Z Pass system. Parents with the free app ZPass+ then receive alerts letting them know where and when their child got on or off the bus.

About SB 1072

SB 1072 was introduced in California State Senate following the September 2015 death of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, a 19-year-old non-verbal student with autism who was accidentally left unattended, locked for hours inside his morning school bus as outdoor temperatures soared to nearly 100 degrees. The bus driver had failed to walk through and check his bus at the completion of his route and the student succumbed to the heat. The bill became known as The Paul Lee Law and was signed by Governor Brown one year after Lee’s death. It requires that all 24,000 school buses operating in the State of California – newly purchased and already in operation – have a Child Safety Alert System.

###

The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 28,000 students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  The school district, founded in 1953, encompasses 108 square miles.  The District office is located at 1401 N. Handy Street, Orange, California.