There’s a Reason School Buses Are Yellow
The other day as I was driving my son to school, I pondered something that I’d never thought about before. As a school bus passed us in the opposite direction, I thought, Why are school buses yellow?
It wasn’t something that had ever crossed my mind. But for whatever reason that day, I wanted to know the answer to that question. And so, I did some research and here’s what I discovered.
It all started back in the 1930s when a man by the name of Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Columbia University Teachers College, started researching school transportation issues. Through his research, he found that one of the issues making school travel unsafe was the color (or lack thereof) of the buses. He organized a conference to discuss the matter with school officials and transportation specialists. Some administrators suggested red, white and blue, so bus transport would make passengers more patriotic. But one problem with those colors was that they don’t stand out.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed on “National School Bus Glossy Yellow” as the official color of school buses, due to its high visibility. By 1974, every state was using this color. Cyr eventually became known as the “father of the yellow school bus.”
Part of the reason that yellow was chosen, according to Cyr’s son, William, is that “They wanted a color that would stand out, that other drivers could see from a distance and that would be identified with a school bus so whenever we saw it, we’d think, there’s a group of kids going someplace. Before that, they sent kids to school in anything.”
Next time you see a school bus drive by, you’ll know why the yellow color is an important part of keeping those children on the bus safe. As the wheels go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round…