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First female CARTA driver honored for one million safe miles

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The icy weather made driving commutes difficult Wednesday, but there's one Chattanooga woman who isn't afraid to travel during extreme conditions.

CARTA honored its first female bus operator to drive one million miles with no traffic violations.

Norma Sanders has been with CARTA for 31 years and has not had one accident.

"Norma is our first female, she's also our first female to be number one on the seniority list for our operators, so she's had two major accomplishments within the last two years," said Executive Director Lisa Maragnano.

As the 8th driver in CARTA's history to drive one million miles safely, 61-year-old Norma Sanders is also the first female to mark the accomplishment.

For the last 31-years, Sanders has been behind the wheel of a CARTA bus, logging one million miles of safe driving. It was a wanted change from her first jobs boxing milk crates.

"Maybe they might be hiring, because I said I'm so tired of working in this factory I want something better for myself," Sanders said.

After two interviews, Sanders got the job. She says she loves going to work but navigating Chattanooga roads isn't always easy.

"Dealing with different personalities sometimes and dealing with the traffic," Sanders said, "Because these people they have no respect for drivers on the road, and some of the people too."

Sanders has driven in her fair share of winter weather. We asked what's her advice to people trying to get home safely in dangerous conditions like we saw Wednesday.

"I just pray, and as for travel emergencies, and ask the Lord to take care of me and all my coworkers out there," Sanders said.

The Executive Director of CARTA gives her advice, too.

"Don't pump the brakes, pay attention to where you're going, leave enough following distance behind you for you and the other vehicles so that if you have to stop you can," Maragnano said.

Sanders now drives the St. Elmo route and she was doing just that Wednesday during the dangerous winter weather. CARTA did not cancel any of their routes, and says everyone made it home safely.

Sanders told her bosses at CARTA this week that she plans on retiring in 23 months.

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