P. O. BOX 2120
December 13, 1996


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: National Transportation Safety Board Recommendations Related to School Buses 

     Following an investigation of the events related to the
  October 25, 1995 collision of a school bus and express
  commuter train in Fox River Grove IL, the National
  Transportation Safety Board has issued a report with 29
  recommendations to various parties.  They include school bus
  driver training, route hazard identification, placement of
  radio speakers on school buses, grade crossing signal hardware
  and practices, communications among government and contractors
  and a host of other issues.

     Through this memo, the Department  is advising you to
  address the following issues: 

     1. IMMEDIATELY  check school buses and disable any radio
        speakers located immediately adjacent to the school bus
        drivers' head.

     2. IMMEDIATELY  begin developing guidelines for the
        appropriate placement of radio speakers and use of radios
        on school buses and distribute these guidelines to ALL drivers,
        mechanics and others who should know of this policy.  

     3. Advise your drivers of the circumstances of this
        accident and provide guidance about vehicle positioning on 
        the road, especially at railroad/highway grade crossings

     4. Develop and implement a program for the identification of school
        bus route hazards and routinely monitor and evaluate all regular 
        and substitute school bus drivers.

  Supts. Memo No. 75
  Page 2
  December 13, 1996

     5. Consider railroad/highway grade crossing accident
        histories or unusual operating characteristics when
        establishing school bus routes.

     This accident has been a topic of discussion since the
  spring and the Pupil Transportation Service has conducted the
  following activities:  arranged for Safety Board personnel to
  speak at the annual conference in June, distributed video
  tapes and print materials, and prepared special presentations.
  The Department will  distribute the Executive Summary to
  all Transportation Contact Persons through the monthly
  information mailing and discussions will continue during the
  Regional Meetings.

     Questions regarding these requests can be directed to Dr.
  Barbara V. Goodman (804)225-2037.