3.13.2006

Ignorance with flashing red lights.

Ok, so I have tried to answer these questions internally... but it has really been tearing me up for quite some time now. Eating at the fiber of my being. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the tops of school buses are painted white! WHY?

I thought that if I just kept it to myself, one day the answer would make itself known to me. But it hasn't. I have even taken to asking people, those people that I encounter that I feel might really know their school buses, and no one seems to know.

Then, just today while pondering this cruel conundrum, I realized that I don't even know why school buses are yellow! I really thought I knew the ins and outs of these scholastic chariots, of this I was quite confident. But now I realize, I know so little.

Please help me in my quest for school bus knowledge, the section of my brain where colors and school buses overlap is thirsty for answers.

Why are the tops of school buses white?

Why are school buses yellow?

This is all really just a precursor to questions I have about people who are school bus drivers... what makes those people tick?

...but first things first...

3 comments:

SmithJ said...

Fear not! I have the answer. The yellow is the pee. The white is the frosting.

Devildog Wrapper said...

Saw a school bus this evening - the top was black.

this was definitely an issue that did not need to get more complex, so I apologize.

slu said...

School bus yellow is a color which was especially formulated for use on United States school buses in 1939. The color is now officially known in the U.S. as National School Bus Glossy Yellow and was originally called National School Bus Chrome.


School bus yellow
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #ffd800
RGBB (r, g, b) (255, 216, 0)
CMYKH (c, m, y, k) (1, 12, 100, 0)
HSV (h, s, v) (36°, 100%, 50%)
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)
In April of that year, Dr. Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York organized a conference that established national school-bus construction standards, including the standard color of yellow for the school bus. It became known officially as "National School Bus Chrome." The color was selected because black lettering on that hue was easiest to see in the semi-darkness of early morning.

The conference met for seven days and the attendees created a total of 44 standards, including specifications regarding body length, ceiling height and aisle width. Paint experts from DuPont and Pittsburgh Paint participated. Dr. Cyr's conference, funded by a $5,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, was also a landmark event inasmuch as it included transportation officials from each of the then 48 states, as well as specialists from school-bus manufacturing and paint companies. The color was adopted by the National Bureau of Standards (Now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) as Federal Standard No. 595a, Color 13432.

The conference approach to school bus safety, as well as the yellow color, has endured into the 21st century. Dr. Cyr became well-known as the "Father of the Yellow School Bus."

As for the white. It is probably the primer they use in the school bus factory. Why paint the top?