Charleston, W.Va. – Three counties in West Virginia recently completed a pilot program to observe if the use of extended stop signs on school buses would reduce illegal passing of buses and improve safety for students.
Cabell, Greenbrier and Kanawha counties each reported a reduction in the illegal passing of school buses when compared to data collected on a single day last spring. Cabell reported a 35% reduction; Greenbrier reported a 60% reduction and Kanawha County reported a 50% reduction.
“While we are encouraged by the reduction in passing violations, we also know there is education to be done among our drivers,” said Mike Pickens, Executive Director of the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Office of School Transportation. “Although we saw improvement, Kanawha County reported the stop signs had been hit by drivers six times since the pilot began in August.”
WVDE is working in partnership with the West Virginia Division of Highways and the West Virginia State Police to help educate the public on when drivers are expected to stop for a school bus.
Since the pilot was complete, WVDE officials have worked closely with the stop arm vendor, Bus Safety Solutions Inc. to outline minor mechanical fixes that were brought to light by bus operators during the pilot. Bus Safety Solutions Inc. will correct the minor mechanical issues within 60 days which ranged from increasing bolt size to adding reflective tape. Once the mechanical issues are corrected and evaluated, WVDE anticipates adding the product as an option within its specifications list so all counties are able to purchase stop arms for its school buses.
The extended stop arm gives motorists more visibility and includes two stop signs: the typical stop sign which extends out two feet from the bus and a second stop sign which extends out six feet from the bus. Both stop signs illuminate when the arm is extended and the bus is stopped.
For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us or 304-558-2699.