before school buses adopted their well-known striking yellow coats they
were cruising down American streets painted everything from red to white and even blue to find where it all began we have to jump all the way back to 1939 while a few buses at this time were in fact yellow there was no standardization and schools could choose their own colors enter one man who changed it all.
Frank Cyr Frank an expert on education and the school system was one of the people who attended the 1939 seven-day conference at Columbia University which deliberated all things school bus related since there was no regulation of colors each individual school could choose whichever style of transport they saw fitting in a lot of cases buses in the USA were actually doused with a red white and blue coat matching the colors of the nation’s flag while this was intended to make the kids more patriotic it didn’t work so well in respect to visibility the multicolored approach tended to camouflage into the background more than a standout color and according
to Frank himself, I don’t think it really had much an effect on patriotism so
America waved goodbye to random color combinations and welcomed that famous yellow but why yellow why not orange with purple polka dots or an easy on the eye forced green well first up let’s talk about how they choose the color Frank actually hung fifty strips of different paints on the wall to be considered he then asked people all at the conference to weigh in on the options before a small group was chosen to make the final decision and voila that famous orange-yellow bus tradition was born now officially known as the National School Bus glossy yellow or color one three four three two on the federal standard five nine five a color collection mad yellow has been used by the United States General Services.
Administration ever since however you may have noticed that some of the
vehicles sport a unique black layer on the hood why is this well while it’s
rather rare they’re present in order to reduce glare from the Sun bouncing up into the drivers’ eyes back to the yellow coats of paint of all the colors of the rainbow yellow grabs our attention faster than any other tint and that
translates directly to an increase in safety yellow is also the easiest color to see in the dark and when visibility is limited you might think that that’s relevant since kids are at school during the day however in reality it’s crucial depending on where they live some children might need to leave the house when it’s still pitch-black outside to make it to school on time throw in the shorter daylight hours of winter plus reduced visibility due to
snowstorms fog and rain and you can see why something is striking yellow is beneficial
what about those bold black school bus letters though because the black and yellow combination provides the greatest contrast for our eyes when kids are waiting to be picked up in the darkness it makes it easier for them to see when the bus is coming but does this stuff actually work to reduce accidents absolutely according to the NHTSA kids
who take the bus are 70 times safer than those who travel to school by car in fact studies were conducted over in Singapore that showed yellow taxis had six fewer incidents per month than blue taxis the color to safety relationship is universal across all vehicles why didn’t they choose the color red even though red is associated with caution and can be seen from afar in reality our eyes notice something yellow on our lateral peripheral vision 1.2
times faster than something red those split seconds can make a world of
if you’ve traveled to more than one American state you’ve noticed that there isn’t much difference between the buses that’s because the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration regulates it across the country here’s the catch though it’s not actually, a national law per se if the state hasn’t enforced any strict rules then the schools are free to do as they please and won’t be given so much as a smack on the wrist if laws have been made official then the school board could receive a warning or a fine if they don’t follow through but what about the rest of the world while they’re lesser known the yellow tradition is also followed in Canada the yellow shade has been introduced in some parts of The UK and it was used in Chile for close to 15 years until 2007 over in Central America it’s another story entirely many Latin buses are decked out with shiny glitz and glam and plenty of over-the-top aftermarket accessories on the flip side and land
down on debt Australian schools mostly hired chartered buses and you can hardly tell the difference between a school bus and a private bus and that folks is why school buses are yellow which color would you have chosen