Electronic notification systems and other new safety measures will be added to Whittier school buses following the death of a student with autism, bus company representatives announced Friday.
Tom DeLapp, spokesman for Pupil Transportation Cooperative, said earlier this month the company was immediately taking steps aimed at improving safety on buses and ensuring that the vehicles are thoroughly checked to ensure no passengers are still aboard. The company will immediately implement a "team checking system so no one individual can sign off on the fact a bus is clear."
He said two adults will have to walk the bus before it is cleared.
The measures also include a notification alarm designed to make sure the driver walks to the back of the bus and performs a passenger check.
"When they stop, if they turn off the ignition without going to the back of the bus to turn off the alarm, the alarm will go off and all of the horns will go off," DeLapp said at a Friday news conference to demonstrate the technology.
Hun Joon "Paul" Lee, 19, of Whittier, was found unresponsive earlier this month aboard the bus, which was parked at the PTC bus depot at 9402 Greenleaf Ave., according to police and fire officials. Bus drivers who found him tried to perform CPR, as did paramedics who arrived at the scene, but Lee was pronounced dead.
According to police, Lee rode the bus to a transition program at the Sierra Education Center near Sierra Vista High School at about 8:30 a.m., and should have boarded it to return home by 4 p.m. When he didn't get home on time, his mother called the school district, which called Pupil Transportation, leading to his discovery by the driver.
It was unclear exactly how long Lee had been left alone on the bus on a day that the Southland was still coping with a nearly weeklong heat wave.