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Security improvements to county school buses being tested this week

Washington County Director of Schools Ron Dykes provided an update on security improvements being made to school buses during the Oct. 29 meeting of the Board of Education’s Safety Committee.
Staff has begun adding web-based global positioning units on the buses that will provide information about the vehicles and driver behavior, including arrival times, departure times, adherence to routes, speeds and idle time.
“We are in the process of installing hardware and have completed 70 buses,” Dykes said, adding the goal is to equip the full fleet by the end of December. “We will be trying out the system next week to determine any dead spots in the county where service may not be available.”
In addition, digital video cameras in all of the buses are being upgraded.
Drivers of the buses also are now equipped with cell phones, which leaders say offer another measure of increased security.
The phones were provided through a government intervention program available to the school system.
Dykes said the phones are programmed to limit calls to emergency numbers only.