La Porte ISD going high-tech for safety

August 22, 2008 3:58:14 PM PDT
A small local school district is setting a big example when it comes to getting your children to and from school safely.This school year bus drivers in La Porte ISD will be required to check school buses thoroughly, and the district will be watching. They're also adding a high-tech way to make sure no kids are forgotten on board.

Each morning before the buses in La Porte start rolling through neighborhoods picking up students, the drivers give each bus a thorough safety inspection, something they've always done in years past.

But this year when they're checking the tires and the crossing gate, for instance, they will scan in their reports electronically.

From the front of the bus to the rear, the driver must scan the device after each series of checks before they can move on. The same thorough inspection is done on the inside, checking for sturdy seats and working emergency exits.

"As soon as they send it out, it downloads into the computer," transportation manager Bryan Trousdale said. "We can log in immediately and generate a work order [if one is necessary]."

And it's not just mechanical. Drivers use the same technology to make sure no student is left on the bus. The driver must bend down to the floor to complete that check.

"If a bus is scheduled for three routes in the morning and three in the afternoon, there could be six checks a day for a bus," Trousdale said.

Back in his office, Trousdale can not only see if the driver did the checks and how long it took to do it, but he can also tell where each bus is at any given time by using a GPS tracker, which gives intricate details such as how fast the bus is going.

When asked why this system was so essential, Trousdale responded, "We're carrying someone's child -- precious cargo. That's it in a nutshell."

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