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Parents worried after investigation finds RPS buses frequently speed

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond school buses frequently speed according to data collected by GPS units on the buses that was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Jennifer Adams keeps a close eye on her kids on the playground, yet, when she puts them on the bus to go to school, she expects someone else will keep her kids safe.

Yet, CBS 6 found out a number of school bus drivers in Richmond speed routinely.

"Over and over again this is happening, that's crazy," Adams said when she looked at the data.

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams

Every Richmond school bus has a GPS embedded in the bus.

Those GPS units send an alert to the school system every time a bus goes 10 miles per hour over the speed limit for at least 30 seconds.

CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit filed a FOIA request with RPS to take a look at the data collected by the GPS systems between April 1 and the last day of school in 2016.

Inside the data were hundreds of examples of buses speeding, including 45 in a 25 and 63 in a 45.

Those GPS units send an alert to the school system every time a bus goes 10 miles per hour over the speed limit for at least 30 seconds.

Those GPS units send an alert to the school system every time a bus goes 10 miles per hour over the speed limit for at least 30 seconds.

"Fifty something in a 25? A friend of mine got his license taken away for six years for that," Adams said.

Parents like Adams said they were shocked to see bus drivers repeatedly going 10, 15, even more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.

"Going 52 in a 25? Are you kidding me? That is crazy. They're going to kill the kids," parent Candace Rippy said.

Hipolit took the data back to the school system, and asked the Chief Operating Officer Tommy Kranz, "when I requested this, was this the first time you had taken a look?"

"No, we had looked at different reports, but the first time we had seen it comprehensively, yes ma'am it was," Kranz responded.

Kranz said the large number of times the GPS logged drivers speeding surprised him.

"Very much so, very much so," Kranz said.  "If I have one bus speeding that is one too many."

school-bus

Kranz said the technology is so new that the school system has not had the chance to dig deep into the speeding data being collected.

"All of my supervisor personnel are driving buses so their time to utilize that tool and expand their knowledge base it is difficult," Kranz said.

That means drivers found to be speeding by the GPS have not been disciplined.

"It should be a warning, and if not they need to find some new bus drivers because that's dangerous," Rippy said.

But, now that we brought this to their attention, Kranz said he plans to address the issue ASAP, and possibly give his drivers more training.

school-buses

"Do you anticipate taking any disciplinary action if you find certain drivers are repeatedly going over the speed limit?" Hipolit asked Kranz.

"We'll follow our human resources policies and the district's policies regarding whatever the appropriate action may be," Kranz responded.

"Something needs to be done because that's ridiculous," Adams said.

Kranz invited CBS 6 to come back in 30 days to see what the school system has done with the data now they're aware of what it shows.

He said they plan to analyze it and see if there are particular drivers that are repeatedly speeding, if it's happening at a particular time of day on a particular road, and if the GPS system is possibly programmed incorrectly and not accurately reading driver's speeds.

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