Technology keeps school buses running during cold snap

Posted at 8:24 PM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-23 20:24:39-05

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- With the cold snap bearing down on Central Virginia, some school districts are using technology to make sure children aren't stuck waiting in the cold.

In fact, each of the school buses in Prince George County are equipped with a GPS unit. The devices not only show administrators where the vehicles are at all times, but can detect if a bus' engine is getting weak.

Administrators said the GPS unit send a message to the transportation department, which allows mechanics to get to the bus and get it started before it's too late -- or replace the battery. [BONUS: Click here for 10 ways to save on your heating bill from Dominion Power]

The system is working perfectly, but the district is also facing anther challenge  a shortage of bus drivers.

To combat the problem on Wednesday, the director of transportation, an assistant and several mechanics got behind the wheel to make sure students didn't have to wait longer than necessary in 17 degree weather.

In Hopewell, only three of the school systems 25 buses wouldn't start but because of the weather. Mechanics had been brought in early to fix any problems that arose.

Henrico County had eight buses with weather-related problems. Administrators sent out replacement buses to pick up students Wednesday morning.