New sensor safety system being tested out on school bus in Plainsboro

Friday, January 15, 2016
New safety feature being tested on school buses could save lives
Tim Fleischer has the exclusive story.

PLAINSBORO, New Jersey (WABC) -- A new safety feature now showing up on school buses is available on most cars today. It's a feature that detects anyone within 10 feet.

On the palm-size screen sits a potential life saver.

With this Student Detection System, school bus driver Bob O'Sullivan knows when he pulls up to the Wicoff Elementary School in Plainsboro he knows when and where the children are around his bus.

"This will be another sound we will get used to. Stop, pause and look," O'Sullivan said.

Eyewitness News got an exclusive look at the SDS, a series of these sensors placed strategically around the bus detecting any movement within 10 feet.

Mike Gaborcik, is with Rostra Precision Controls which manufactures the sensors.

"This is the critical side because this is where the children are getting on and off," Gaborcik said. "We have also done two sensors on the back side here to pick up obstacles here at the rear of the vehicle. We're protecting the duel tires in the rear here and that is to prevent someone from being caught in those tires as they're moving forward."

"You really have to work around the bus?" Eyewitness News Reporter Tim Fleischer said.

"Correct. Correct. And this is probably the most critical area right here," Gaborcik said. "This is a micro wave based technology. Works in snow, sleet, inclement weather, throw mud on it and it's still working."

The System is being closely followed as New Jersey lawmakers consider "Abigail's Law" that would require all new buses to be equipped with sensors.

The proposed law is named after 18-month-old Abigail Kuberiet who was killed by a bus in 2003. Her father, Christopher, supports the legislation.

"Be no reason why buses shouldn't be equipped with the same alarms and cautionary devices to prevent a tragedy that I've endured," Kuberiet said.

Bus company owner Eric Raphael purchases up to 12 new buses a year and sees a benefit.

"In seven years half the state of New Jersey would have these sensors," Raphael said.

Like the addition of the rounded "cross over mirrors" and the "swing arms", these sensors, proponents believe, could add an important new level of safety.