Buffalo patent attorney, Vincent LoTempio filed the patent application for a new invention that has the possibility to save children’s lives. His client, Victoria DeCarlo, invented the STEFFI Crossing Enhancer, a piece of equipment designed to assist students as they prepare to cross the street in order to board the bus, or after they have exited the bus.
In New York state, school bus drivers are required to use a thumb and forefinger technique when directing students to cross the street, which is not always clearly visible given sun reflection or rain, etc. There are more than 50,000 school buses and approximately 62,000 school bus drivers. School buses transport over 2.3 million children to and from school each day. The possibilities of crossing accidents are high.
The STEFFI Crossing Enhancer substantially reduces the chances of crossing accidents. The enhancer is a gray reflective arrow on a bright yellow background with an orange border. It also has an elastic finger loop at the top, and there is a wrist strap. It allows the student to clearly see the instructions from the bus driver of when to cross the street. The STEFFI Crossing Enhancer alleviates this problem.
DeCarlo was a bus driver for 19 years at Lake Shore Central School District. The District committed to purchasing STEFFIs for all of the district’s bus drivers. They are now mandated at Lake Shore. Every school bus will also be equipped with ‘STEFFI On Hand Kits,’ which consist of three back-up STEFFIs in a clear vinyl bag.
In addition, starting this school year, when students receive their bus safety instruction, they will be taught to look for the STEFFI before they cross a street prior to boarding or after disembarking their bus.
Vincent LoTempio stated, “This is a great idea. It really has the ability to increase the safety of students who ride a bus everyday. It is very rewarding to be involved in the patenting of an invention that may save a child’s life. I look forward to seeing the full potential of this invention.”
DeCarlo initially manufactured and ordered about 5,000 STEFFI Crossing Enhancers. She plans to take the STEFFI to Canada and nationwide.