WALNUT COVE - Stokes County Schools has installed a new program that will help the district track each of their buses.
The GPS system does more than monitor the buses' location. It also tracks the buses' speed, if the bus has put on its brakes, or if its lights are flashing.
It even lists when a driver honks the horn.
The technology is designed to help schools and parents keep track of their students and offer peace of mind.
"If a bus was to deviate off of its designated route by more than a mile or so, it will send us an alert and allow us to go and find out where that bus is at and contact that bus," said David Burge, Executive Director of Operations, Stokes County Schools.
Stokes County installed this system on all 100 of their buses. Only 12 other districts in the state, including Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, have this technology.
In Stokes County, the buses are monitored in one location but the district is installing software for the buses to be monitored from each school.
"We can go on live and look and say 'Oh the bus is two stops from your designated stop or the bus stopped at yours top five minutes ago and was there for 30 seconds, blew the horn, nobody responded so we left'," explained Burge.
The software gives live updates every 30-seconds and the data is stored on another server for up to five years.
The county did not have to pay any money upfront. Burge says any costs that come up can be offset with the savings from the technology.
It keeps tabs on the engine and reports problems, which could prevent costly repairs down the road.
Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools already had a tracking system but will soon install the updated version Stokes County is using. That should happen in a few months.
One optional component of the school bus tracker by Synovia Solutions and Verizon lets students sign in and off the bus using their student ID card, giving parents confirmation about their child's location.
Verizon Wireless says the North Carolina school districts using the technology include: Buncombe, Burke, Durham, Franklin, Harnett, Jones, Stokes, Wilson and Forsyth counties.
WFMY News 2, The Associated Press