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  • Writer's pictureGardian Angel, LLC

What Kobe Bryant Crash has already taught the School Bus industry in 24 HRS

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

Kobe Crash

The Sikorsky S76 helicopter carrying nine passengers including Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and his daughter, Gianna "Gigi" crashed into a hillside in Southern California just before 10 AM on January 26, 2020 as they were making their way to an AAU game. Passengers John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli, along with Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan have been identified and pronounced deceased. Although this is a horrible tragedy especially for the families and the sports industry, the main message rings loud for other industries including student transportation. In less than 24 hours of the crash the message echos: Life is precious.

See the incredible footage below of the National Transportation Safety Board's B-Roll of investigators documenting the accident site of the 1/26/2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.

Pilots and Bus Drivers

According to the article from ESPN, air traffic controllers noted poor visibility around Burbank and were providing the pilot, Ara Zobayan guidance as he navigated through what was reported to be dense morning fog. Any school bus driver can relate to this as they encounter the same weather conditions many mornings on their routes. School bus drivers and dispatchers use two-way radios to communicate much like the pilot and air traffic controllers. Much like a school bus driver doing a pre-check, a helicopter pilot will check the helicopter over - making sure the rotor blades, engine, structure, and landing gear are all in working order. Much like school buses, helicopters are also inspected annually.

Poor Visibility

One of the main issues currently seen in this ongoing investigation is the poor visibility by fog. Poor visibility is something school bus drivers know all too well. This is the cause for many crashes and accidents across the country. If you look at the 2018-2019 National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey the majority of times when fatal school bus crashes happen are during dawn (37.5%) and dark (37.5%) hours where visibility is more of an issue, compared to the (25%) fatal accidents occurring in daylight. It's important to note that visibility is not always weather related as shown by the 2018-2019 National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey where (12.5%) of fatal accidents occurred in cloudy conditions, whereas (87.5%) of the fatal accidents occurred in clear conditions.

Darkness can be, just if not more deadly than cloudy conditions. Regardless, poor visibility remains a threat to aviation and pupil transportation. I can not speak on behalf of the aviation industry, but I can speak up to the school bus industry. There is a proactive solution to fight the darkness and help your students be seen during times of poor visibility. It's called the Gardian Angel school bus safety lighting system.

Be Seen

Motorists have claimed time and time again, that they have an issue with seeing the pedestrians waiting and then crossing the street to board their school bus, and bus drivers and students have a hard time seeing each other as the bus driver waves them across the road during these critical times. That's where this amazing technology comes into play.

What is Gardian Angel?

Gardian Angel is an exterior lighting system that easily attaches to a school bus that delivers the most advanced technologies to combat stop arm violations and minimizes the public safety risks to students who rely upon school transportation.

What does it include?

Because each state has different rules and regulations as to optional school bus lighting technology, Gardian Angel, LLC offers a variety of kits to meet your bus stop needs. They have also expanded our product line to include LED lights that shine out both sides of the front of the bus. It includes (2) high intensity red LED flashing strobe lights that attach to the hood of the bus, and (2) front bumper mounted 1,000 lumen white LED flood lights which shine out each side of the front of the bus.

See our light your kids will be alright.

How Gardian Angel works

The system automatically turns on when the red lights are activated, and turn off when the entrance door of the bus is closed. No separate switches are needed.

Gardian Angel Benefits


  • Keeps children safe and out of the danger zone as to decrease/eliminate injuries and fatalities. Also improves visibility making it a lot easier to do your counts as well.


  • Can see where they step to prevent falls, improve visibility of bus driver’s hand signals motorists. Have a warning that the stop arm is deployed, and traffic can clearly see the students position.


  • Easy to install and low maintenance


  • Low cost


  • Improve safety of their students


  • Peace of mind knowing child(ren) is/are safer


  • Generate good publicity regarding school bus safety

Life is Precious

Preventing accidents,especially when it comes to poor visibility is a requirement as life can be taken away in a moment as we've sadly seen in the Kobe crash. Life is precious and that includes the cargo inside and outside of the school bus. Please purchase the Gardian Angel to make sure students are seen, not hit. There has been enough tragedies to show this is an ongoing problem that needs addressed. Not only can it be addressed, it can be prevented. All you have to do is see the light.

The Gardian Angel technology is already keeping students in 23 states safer.

To learn more about this amazing device please visit


About Us

Steve Gardner

Founder / CEO, Gardian Angel, LLC

Steve Gardner has a prominent background in the transportation industry. Steve is a former school bus mechanic for twenty years at the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, who wrenched his way into a fleet maintenance supervisor position for another 15 years. He was a licensed mechanic in Michigan, and was an ASE master technician in heavy trucks and school buses as well. Mr. Gardner was an active member in the Ohio School Bus Mechanics association for over 25 years. Steve is credited with organizing the first mock school bus disaster in the state of Ohio in 1996, which involved mentally and physically challenged individuals. Steve is also the inventor of the Gardian Angel.

Public Speaking:

Steve Gardner spoke at the 2013 National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) annual conference, where he demonstrated the Gardian Angel school bus lighting system for State Directors, the State and National Associations Council, the Supplier Council, along with other nationally recognized experts and associates.

Andrew Gardner

Director of Marketing, Gardian Angel, LLC

Andrew Gardner is the Director of Marketing for Gardian Angel, LLC. and Steve Gardner's youngest son. He's an accomplished marketing professional with 10 years’ experience that has a proven track record of cost-effectively reaching over 110 million+ consumers. Andrew Gardner successfully developed his own brand, FATHER-IN-SAW, which had 36 handmade products featured in 8 mainstream magazine websites including:

People, Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, Shape, Fitness, Parenting, MyWedding, and More magazine more than 60 times to date.

Andrew’s business management, combined with a decade of vast practical experience in marketing and sales, have given him the skills and strategic vision to develop and execute successful marketing strategies. He grew not just one, but two successful local brands from inception, all while being a stay-at-home dad. Unlike Toledo marketing firms that prey on small businesses in attempts to groom them into paid advertisements, Andrew’s organic approach to marketing meant long-term success for the businesses he’s established and managed. Andrew proved earning your rank among the internet and to your customers is a much more successful marketing strategy.

His career in marketing started off as a marketing research intern at TNS Global where he collected project-related information to compile a database of over 10,000 studies. Once his internship ended, he worked as a marketing intern for one of the Fortune 500 companies in Ohio. It was here at HCR ManorCare that his passion for marketing started to blossom as Andrew assisted with sales training's and created reports for the Vice President of Marketing and Analytics.

About a year after his Fortune 500 marketing internship ended, Andrew worked for Gardian Angel, LLC. He grew this Toledo small business from inception in January 2010 with his father, Steve Gardner. Over the years working with Gardian Angel, LLC Andrew’s marketing strategies have proved highly successful. Gardner advised, helped established, and provided many marketing efforts for Gardian Angel, LLC including the web design, development and implementation of marketing strategy, and managing social media channels. This Toledo based company has designed, patented, and produced a lighting system which acts as a preventative measure for stopping motorists who illegally pass school buses, and allows children increased safety while loading or unloading the school bus. While implementing his marketing plan for Gardian Angel, LLC Andrew wrote articles as a contributor for a school bus trade magazine, School Transportation News. He's most noted in the school bus industry for his 3-part blog series about bullying. Gardner’s own anti-bullying campaign raised the bar on ethics as he set an unprecedented step persuading public policy lawmakers to increase and enforce additional ethical laws throughout the pupil transportation industry. Leading organizations and school transportation officials including members of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services acknowledged Andrew Gardner’s ethical efforts.

If that wasn’t enough, Andrew took his hobby of woodworking and started an e-commerce store in 2016 where he started FATHER-IN-SAW. Gardner’s remarkable digital marketing efforts for his own brand included the advertising, content marketing, logo design, packaging, pricing, photography, manufacturing, marketing research, marketing strategy, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. In less than two years, his humble brand could be found through the websites of national magazines like People and Better Homes & Gardens. (Just in case you were wondering he accomplished this organically, without even a penny of paid advertisements.​​)

Andrew Gardner's Marketing Certifications

Google Ads Display Certification

Google Ads Mobile Certification

Google Ads Search Certification

Google Ads Video Certification

Google Analytics Individual Qualification

Google Campaign Manager Certification

Hubspot Content Marketing Certification

Google Creative Certification

Google Digital Sales Certification

Hubspot Email Marketing Certification

Google Digital Garage Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certification

Hubspot Growth-Driven Design Certification

Hubspot Growth-Driven Design Agency Certification

Hubspot Inbound Certification

Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification

Hubspot Inbound Sales Certification

Google Mobile Sites Certification

Hubspot Sales Enablement Certification

Google Search Ads 360 Certification

Google Shopping Certification

Hubspot Social Media Certification

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