Vermilion Parish school system get 8 new buses; they have nifty safety features on them

This is one of the new buses purchased by the school board.

When a bus is turned off, an alarm will go off and the driver has to walk to the back of the bus to turn it off. The alarm is there to make sure the driver walks to the back of the bus to check for children still on the bus.

By Monday, there will be eight 2015 yellow school buses rolling on the streets of Vermilion Parish.
The buses arrived at the Vermilion Parish Transportation Department this week and they are expected to be given to the bus drivers Friday.
According to school transportation supervisor Ken Small, the drivers who get the new buses are the ones who drive the oldest bus or the bus with the most mileage.
Small said the oldest buses are a fleet of 2001-2002 buses. Some have as many as 198,000 miles. The buses are 14 years old and the state requires no bus to be older than 25 years old.
One 71-passenger bus cost the school board $74,000 for a total of $600,000. The money used to pay for the eight buses is from a special mileage dedicated to buy new school buses.
The school board has purchased 134 buses over the years with the millage. Each new bus has the letter “M” in front of new bus number. The “M” stands for millage while the school bus number is the order in which the bus was purchased. The new buses will be numbered “M-136 through “M-144.”
These buses are Internationals with a Cummins engine inside.
There are special safety features on the busses.
When the bus engine stops, a loud sounding alarm goes off and the only way for the bus driver to turn it off is to walk to the back of the bus and shut it off, Small said. He said this forces the bus driver to get out of his or her seat and walk to the back of the bus to turn off the alarm. Because the driver is forced to walk to the back of the bus, he or she can check to see if any child is still in its seat.
If the driver forgets to turn off the buzzing sound and walks off the bus, the horn will begin going off.
Another safety feature is that the driver can open and close the double doors using a button on the steering wheel.
The seat belt that buckles in the driver is orange.
The bus comes with four video cameras with an option to put in a fifth camera. There is also a PA system that allows the bus driver to talk to the students without turning around.
Vermilion Parish public schools have 135 total buses. Each year, contingent on the amount of money in the special account dedicated to school buses, the school board will purchase new buses.
Next year, Small said, he will recommend the school board purchase two special needs buses, along with three to five 71-passenger buses.

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