WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - Parents of Worth County students can now feel a lot better about their kids riding buses to school every day. The county purchased 16 new buses, all equipped with new technology and safety features.
One veteran school bus driver who said she couldn't be more excited for the change.
Elaine Douglas has been driving school buses for 35 years now.
"I just love my job," said Douglas. "I get up every morning at 5 o'clock."
Though this year, she admitted she was more excited than ever.
"It's just, it's wonderful. I love it. I'm so proud of my bus," said Douglas.
Each one of the 16 new vehicles is equipped with the latest technology to keep drivers and students safe.
"Safety is our number one priority," said Douglas.
Each bus has new brake systems, large windshields, power and heated mirrors, and most importantly air conditioning vents for passengers and the drivers.
"This is where the safety aspect comes in. If the driver is staying calm and cool, they're not stressed out. They're going to be a safe driver," said Farrell Lawrence, Director of Transportation.
Also, an internal and external PA system allows drivers to make announcements inside and outside of the bus.
Another plus? A child reminder system is in place that alerts drivers when they shut the bus down. This requires drivers to check the bus for any students left behind.
Drivers in a rush to get to work in the morning won't get away with passing the buses when they're stopped. Each one has cameras to record stop arm violators.
"I'm hoping that we'll take those video clips, we'll take it to our local law enforcement folks, and do something about this," said Lawrence.
Though with all the new features aside, Douglas said it's not the gadgets that keep her coming back to work. It's the children who make her days worthwhile.
"A lot of times you're the first thing they see in the morning, and the last thing when they get off the bus. So, you can make their day," said Douglas.
The new buses will be incorporated during the 2016-2017 school year, to accommodate the 2,200 students who ride twice daily.