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Buses in Big Sky Country get brighter thanks to new Lighting Law - 25th State Approval!




Helena, Mont. — Governor Greg Gianforte today Monday April 19, 2021, signed a new law improving school bus safety. This legislation authorized the use of additional school bus lighting on Montana school buses. This law includes technology offered by the Toledo, Ohio company Gardian Angel, LLC. Montana is now the 25th state to allow the use of Gardian Angel school bus lighting system kits. The new law paves the way for improved student safety as children load or unload the school bus on Montana roads. "After 7 years of trying to work with the state, Montana has LIGHTened (pun intended) up to what we have been offering the state director along with Montana Superintendent's Office of Public Instruction (OPI) for years now" says Gardian Angel, LLC Founder, Steve Gardner."


The Gardian Angel school bus lighting system is now currently available as optional equipment to school buses in the following 25 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


With strong support from Kalispell parents, family, and friends, Gardian Angel, LLC partnered with Jordana’s Alliance for Bus Safety in order to improve school bus safety laws for both the State of Montana’s children and drivers. Gardian Angel, LLC Founder, Steve Gardner, stated “Students need seen, not hit. Montana needs us, and we’re here to help.” Gardian Angel, LLC Director of Marketing, Andrew Gardner expressed “It’s been a pleasure to work with such strong safety advocates in the industry. We are thrilled to be helping Big Sky Country become brighter.”



Rep. Neil Duram, a Republican from Eureka, sponsored Montana HB 207. Two separate school bus crashes over the last couple years, fueled support for the bill. MT HB 207 unanimously passed both the Montana House (97-0) and Senate ( 50-0), and is now signed and enacted as law per Montana's governor.


Two other school bus safety bills are going through the legislative process, but are currently being hung up. HB 267 would require the use of extended stop-arms as well as larger fines for violations relating to passing a stopped school bus, along with prohibiting drivers from passing a stopped bus on the right. Montana’s school bus camera bill, MT HB 350, would allow for school districts to install cameras to record violations. It was noticed in the hearings for this issue, that Montana does not permit the use of red light traffic cameras which coincide with this proposed bill. HB 267 and MT HB 350 are currently tabled in Committee on the Senate Highways and Transportation as they met opposition, contrary to the school bus lighting bill, HB 207, that unanimously passed through and became law in just a short time frame.


The Gardian Angel red lights can easily and affordably be attached to existing school bus fleets. It includes two high intensity flashing red LED strobe lights that attach to the hood of the bus which are great for daytime use. Gardian Angel's exterior lighting system has the goal of helping combat stop-arm violations and minimizing the safety risks to student riders. Other Gardian Angel product lines are designed to help drivers clearly see students in darkness, provide a lit path for pedestrians walking toward the bus, and enable cars in front of and behind the bus to clearly see pedestrians walking toward the school bus in darkness. The system delivers the most advanced technologies to prevent stop-arm violations and minimizes the public safety risks to students who rely on school transportation. This approved option also raises the bar for the current state standards, as well as exceeds the current federal standards. This proactive school bus safety feature is meant to reduce the rates of illegal passing incidents, as well as to help the driver see better in the dark. It decreases the unloading and loading zone injuries and/or fatalities, and aids in the prevention of school bus pedestrian crashes.


This innovation from Toledo, Ohio has made history, not just in the school bus industry, but in a National museum. The story of both the Gardian Angel company and its lighting system are showcased in a digital time capsule at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Andrew's Achievements tells the story of how the Gardian Angel school bus lighting system was created and the endeavors getting state approvals; the growth of the company and the lighting system as a solution to prevent the nationwide issue of illegal school bus passing.


https://americanhistory.si.edu/stories-of-2020/story/andrew%E2%80%99s-achievements


It's important to take a minute and reflect on why Montana needed this new lighting law and this amazing technology. Here are just two recent examples.


  • On November 12, 2019, 6-year-old Jordana Hubble was returning home from Olney-Bissell School. She was trying to cross the highway when Patricia Berliner failed to stop for the new 2020 model school bus. Ms. Berliner's vehicle traveled between 25-40 mph as it struck the young pedestrian. Jordana was exiting her bus on U.S. Highway 93 near Whitefish. The vehicle's impact threw Jordana's body 60 feet and then landed her in a ditch. She suffered Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) which is a form of traumatic brain injury. Jordana has since received treatment and is recovering.



  • Another school bus crash occurred right before 8 a.m. on October 1, 2019. Theron Jensen, 48 of Bigfork, failed to stop and rear-ended his white Ford Bronco pickup truck with blue trim into a stopped school bus on U.S. Highway 93 south of Whitefish in front of the Hillside Church. Jenson, who was wearing his seatbelt and was alert at the time, had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency medical responders. He was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center and later died.


Here at Gardian Angel, LLC we curated this list of the best pedestrian accident attorneys in each state as a reference guide. It's important to note, the listed attorneys and law firms are not affiliates. Simply put, we wanted to provide everyone in the United States the best starting place, no matter where they live, to help in case you or your loved one was involved in a pedestrian accident. Here's our pick for Montana.


Montana Pedestrian Accidents Attorney

The McGrady Law Firm

309 Wisconsin Avenue

Whitefish, MT 59937

Phone: 406.322.8647


Gardian Angel, LLC reminds customers to check with state requirements for specific mounting locations, since they may vary. School districts in 25 states can purchase the Gardian Angel lighting system for their bus fleet.

For more information, go to www.gardianangelllc.com.

Written by: Andrew Gardner, Director of Marketing, Gardian Angel, LLC.

Click here for more information about Andrew Gardner.

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