High Point bus manufacturer updates safety equipment

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Over the next few weeks, parents will be helping their kids pack up and head back to school. One High Point company is working to make sure their  ride to school is safe.

Ken Hedgecock of Thomas Built Buses explained, "the riskiest transportation time for any student is getting on and off the school bus."

Summer is the busiest time of the year for Thomas Built Buses as school systems work to replenish and expand their school bus fleets.

Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service for Thomas Built, Hedgecock has noticed an uptick in the company's overall numbers this year.

"The market really hasn't changed much this year from past years. But we are seeing a significant spike in sales." Hedgecock attributes the spike to the quality, dependability and safety of their buses.

Hedgecock said transporting kids to school safely is the company's priority.

 "School buses are statistically the safest form of ground transportation in the world. There's no safer place for a child to be on the way to school or on the way home than on a school bus, " said Hedgecock.

A system of mirrors on the front and sides of Thomas Built buses now allow drivers to see 180 degrees around the bus allowing them to keep an eye on kids from the street to their seat.

"A school bus has all sorts of safety devices. It has warning lights, stop arms, and walk gates," said Hedgecock.

The Thomas Built manufactures as many as 15,000 school buses every year. The process is referred to as "zero waste to landfill" because any byproducts of the manufacturing are reused or recycled. Nothing is thrown away.

"My youngest one still rides a school bus from time to time," said Hedgecock. "It's great to know they're on our products as well."

According to Hedgecock, of all the school buses bought in North Carolina last year, 80 percent were Thomas Built.

The company employs about 1,300 people at their facilities in High Point.