Local school buses now equipped with GPS

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In just a couple weeks, hundreds of school buses will hit the road with new technology on board.

Buses will be outfitted with GPS tracking, so school staff will know exactly where each vehicle is at all times.

“People are always calling in asking, ‘Where's the bus?’ With these units, we can look in real time and say the bus is here, or the bus came to your stop 10 minutes ago,” said Jeff Harris, director of transportation for Guilford County Schools.

Harris says 244 buses in Guilford County will have GPS units this fall. The school system is testing the technology on special needs and magnet school buses first.

The GPS works by transmitting information to an online system. Then school officials will be able to track everything from a buses location to whether the driver is speeding or wearing a seat belt.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools already have a similar system in place on all their school buses.

“It will track the bus every 30 seconds. We just have lots of information we can pull from,” said Edna Anderson, assistant director of transportation. “It's very incredible. We use our system a lot.”

Now, Anderson says they’re considering upgrading their system to get turn-by-turn GPS, or even a system that tracks each student that gets on the bus.

School officials say there’s no such thing as too much information these days.

“We don't want to be Big Brother watching over our employees, but at the same time, we want to ensure parents that we're doing things to make your children as safe as possible,” said Harris.

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