COLUMBIA, S.C.– South Carolina is looking to save money by spending roughly $4 million on GPS units that can track every move made by the state’s school buses and road construction vehicles.
The state expects to award a contract this week for 12,250 GPS tracking devices, with just more than half outfitting the state’s fleet of public school buses and the rest put on Department of Transportation vehicles, from backhoes to roadside safety trucks. Nine companies submitted bids, according to the state Budget and Control Board, according to www.wcnc.com.
Cities and school districts around the country are using the technology to cut waste and abuse. But as the nation’s only state to own and maintain a statewide school bus fleet, South Carolina may be the first state to install GPS units on all of its school buses.
Beyond tracking vehicles, the GPS units will transmit when drivers speed, excessively idle, and accelerate, which transportation officials want to eliminate.
If the devices cut fuel use by just a couple of gallons of gas daily per bus, they’ll pay for themselves within a year. On average, each school bus travels 16,000 miles a year.
The units capture every time a school bus opens its doors, flashes lights, and puts out its stop sign, so local bus shop officials can check if drivers are properly stopping for students and railroad tracks. If a bus breaks down, officials can pinpoint the closest bus.
The units will go into roughly two-thirds of DOT’s fleet.