Martinsville City Schools improving bus safety

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Parents at the bus stop in Martinsville may have noticed some extra bright lights on school buses.

The school system installed new GPS enabled radio's last year and now, new lights. School leaders say it's a constant effort to ensure your child's safety.

Last year, a police officer brought the issue to the attention of schools leaders after having a hard time seeing one of the buses on a foggy day. Now, it's almost impossible not to see them.

"On those foggy mornings or early mornings, those lights weren't as bright. It's just totally different," Transportation Coordinator Damien Tarpley said.

The top four lights, you regularly see on a bus are still there, but now on Martinsville City School buses, they are LED. You will also notice three little lights farther up, in between them. Those are now a lot brighter. And a new third brake light with an LED bulb, that leaders say makes all the difference.

"This actually works better than then the regular lights, because it's more brighter and with the strobe kind of feel to it, it keeps drivers away from the bumper," Tarpley said.

And that is a problem school leaders are trying to fix.

"We've had a few incidents over the last few years where passenger vehicles have rear ended our buses," Director of School Safety T.J. Slaughter said.

Slaughter hopes this will help prevent accidents.

"There has been a lot of talk here lately about the spike in vehicle fatalities nationwide," Slaughter said.

Slaughter says if they can catch a drivers eye, they've helped keep a child safe.

"It's just not our buildings that we look at, it's the whole big picture. From the time the student gets on the bus to the time the student gets off the bus," Slaughter said.

School leaders say they have received great feedback from parents and community members so far.