WOOSTER, Ohio – With a new school year beginning on Monday, Wooster City Schools will be unveiling three new buses in its fleet that feature innovative, high tech safety innovations even some parents never dreamed of.
The 83 passenger Blue Bird buses are designed to get the attention of distracted drivers, get the license numbers of drivers who do not stop and keep students safer inside and outside of the bus.
Some of the innovations include a button on the back of the bus that the driver must push before they get off of the bus.
It is intended to force the drivers to walk through the bus, looking at every seat to make sure everyone is off of the bus before they shut the doors and that nothing else was left behind.
“If we don’t come back and check for students then the alarms will go off the lights will flash and it will beep…. so you have to come back and push that,” said Transportation Director Vic Cole.
The buses feature multiple new cameras throughout, as well as more heavily padded seats.
They have a camera in the front window that can record what is happening in front of the bus and a second camera outside of the bus that can capture photographs of the license plates of any car that does not stop.
“I believe this will help deter that and I’m going to send (the images) to the police if we get one that comes and we will let the judge determine if it can be used or not along with the witness of the driver,” said Cole.
The buses also feature high-intensity lighting on the front and on the rear of the bus in addition to reflective striping across much of the rear of the bus.
“If you are texting, which we know a lot of people text and drive, somehow that puts a signal to them it does something to their eyes it makes them look quicker,” said Cole.
Another feature is called “Guardian Angel.”
Guardian angel is a high-intensity spotlight mounted to the front of the bus that will shine a bright path across the road that can illuminate a safe path for students to cross in the dark or in the snow or fog.
Even the windows are tinted which can help regulate the temperature inside the bus, but also prevent people from easily being able to look inside the bus and see who is there.
Cole says the technology and innovations that are on the new buses is just the beginning.
Additional safety technology is already being evaluated that he says could be on buses soon.
“We haul the most precious cargo which is our students in the whole wide world on these buses and nobody wants a kid hurt we surely don’t want no child hurt we do all we can do to make everything safe for the kids,” said Cole.