DOE RUN CO. PAYS $300,000 TO SETTLE EPA CHARGE FROM 2010
(Reprinted from School Bus Fleet's Newsline on-line newsletter, April 24, 2013)
ST. LOUIS — Seven school districts in Jefferson County, MO, will receive a total of $300,000 to retrofit diesel school buses to reduce emissions. The funding comes from lead producer the Doe Run Co. as part of a 2010 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Selected to receive grants are the Hillsboro, Jefferson R-VII, Windsor, Dunklin, De Soto, Grandview and Festus school districts. The grant availability was announced earlier this year. The retrofit program aims to reduce emissions by up to 90% on retrofitted buses. Through the grant application process, each school district requested funding for specific upgrades to its vehicles. Officials said that in most cases, districts needed assistance in reducing the amount of time buses spend idling in the winter.
Central States Bus Sales will perform the retrofits. “During the cold months, school buses need to warm up for about one hour to keep students warm and to run effectively, which increases fuel costs and air emissions,” said Bill Schlueter, director of service and warranty at Central States. “By installing idle-reduction technology, an independent, direct-fired heater that operates on a timer will warm the engine and the cabin of the bus without running the engine, decreasing idle time from hours to just minutes each day.”
After Central States retrofits the engines, the school districts will be required to report emission reductions and other performance improvements.
On January 18, 2011, a 6-year-old Callaway County, Missouri boy was run over and killed by his own school bus after getting off the bus at his home. A Missouri State Highway Patrol report on the accident concluded that the bus driver did not wait long enough after the student got off to clear the area around the bus before he set the bus in motion again.
One year to the day after the accident, the 78-year-old bus driver, who had pled guilty two months earlier to second degree involuntary manslaughter, was sentenced to four years in prison. However, the judge suspended the sentence, and placed the driver on five years' probation. He cannot drive any vehicle, let alone a school bus, and must perform 100 hours of community service, speaking to area bus drivers about school bus safety. The victim's grief-stricken parents did not want to see the driver spend time behind bars. Instead, they wanted to use the tragedy to educate bus drivers and riders on the potential hazzards so that no other family would have to suffer the loss of a child. Members of the victim's family said the case was not about revenge, but about preventing something like this from happening again.
The Missouri Association for Pupil Transportation (M.A.P.T.) in cooperation with the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) has produced a video about the North Calloway accident, entitled "DRIVING DISTRACTED...and then it happened."
M.A.P.T. wishes to thank the MSBA for allowing us to post a link to the video, as a means of educating school bus professionals and the general public of the possible tragic consequences of distraced driving.
To view the video, click here