Local News

School Buses Get a Touch of Technology

Posted August 15, 1999

— It's back to school for thousands of area students. Joining them on board their traditional yellow buses is a touch of technology.

The technology is expected to make the bus trip in Wake County a lot safer.

Approximately 50,000 students rode to school on buses today. And, close at hand for the drivers, were cellphones.

All the buses have been outfitted with the phones, which have been tested to ensure there are no signal black-out areas around the county.

The school system contracted with Alltel to provide the cellphones. Under the arrangement, when bus use drops dramatically, the school system will be charged only for phones on board buses being used for year-round school programs.

The phones connect automatically to 911, enabling drivers to report emergencies involving the bus or students. It also connects with the school bus dispatcher and with operations managers in various areas of the county.

As an added safety feature, the phones can be activated only if the school bus has pulled to the side of the road.

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