TOLEDO, Ohio — Illinois became the 22nd state to permit school buses to use a lighting system dubbed “Guardian Angel.” According to the School Transportation News, school districts and bus operators must obtain permission from the Illinois Department of Transportation before the district could install the Guardian Angel lighting system. The lights used as part of the Guardian Angel are higher off of the ground and cast a cone of light at 45-degree angles to the bus and therefore require approval from the Department of Transportation. Many people working in the educational system in Illinois believe that implementing the Guardian Angel system is a tremendous step toward ensuring students’ safety while crossing the street at the bus stop as well as preventing cars from passing unlawfully.
The Guardian Angel lighting system is electronically tied to the Stop Arm and red lights on the bus. The Guardian Angel comes on when the driver initiates the red lights of the bus. The 1,000-lumen light, which is a bright white LED flood light, shines down at a 45-degree from the sides of the bus. The light focuses its beam on students crossing the street to get to the bus. The light will shut off when the driver closes the door, even if the red lights stay on.
Experts say that utilization of the Guardian Angel lighting system will make bus stops safer for students by illuminating the route to the bus so that other motorists can see them in those darker mornings such as in winter or adverse weather. Additionally, the beam emitted from the Guardian Angel is so bright that drivers approaching the bus from both the front and rear will have no difficulty observing the light and should immediately understand that passing the bus at that moment — even though unlawful — would imperil students crossing to get to their school bus.
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