Last Thursday a big yellow school bus tipped over on its side after crossing the railroad tracks on Hadden Pond road in Waynesboro.
18 students were on board when the bus driver had a medical emergency. Three children and the driver were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
News Channel 6’s, Margaret-Ann Carter visited with School officials in Burke County to find out more about their safety procedures on the school bus.
Burke County only uses Blue bird buses, which are top of the line.
Those buses aren’t cheap they run about 95 thousand dollars for a brand new one, but school leaders know you can’t put a price tag on your child’s life.
“We could have been planning 20 funerals instead of celebrating the life of 20 that were saved and spared on that day,” Clary Dishmond, the Assistant Director of Transportation said.
Clary Dishmond, the Assistant Director of Transportation for the school system says, this week Burke County School leaders are counting their blessings.
“I told my director and my superintendent and all of our administrators in the school system on Thursday night that we are blessed tremendously blessed,” he said.
The Burke County Department of Transportation isn’t just meeting state standards, they’re going above and beyond to keep students safe.
“Parents here can have peace of mind and ease of heart to know that when you put your child on here that they are stepping on one of the safest vehicles that’s on the road, and that you have one of the safest vehicles in the state, in this county right here,” Dishmond explained.
With 3 to 6 cameras on each bus and a GPS system that lets school officials know where buses are at all times, Burke County is ahead of the game in technology.
To make sure their vehicles are maintained they only run them about 10 to 15 years. Some other counties run their buses for more than 20 years.
The school board puts just as much thought and effort into finding the best drivers.
“We take them through a rigorous course of training, classroom time, behind the wheel time,” Dishmond said.
A yearly physical and recertification process keeps the county’s drivers up to date with state requirements.
Burke County does have one requirement exclusive to them, Dishmond says all drivers must love the children you drive.
Tuesday night at 6pm the Burke County School Board will be honoring three students on the bus who helped everyone get to safety.