Extended stop signs on buses helping to reduce violations
By Christina Fan, WOWKTV.com
CABELL COUNTY, WV - Carol Hall has run the same bus route in Cabell County for over five years. She said watching drivers running her stop sign has become a daily occurrence.
“There are times you could have this big yellow school bus with the red lights going, and they don't even know there is a school bus in front of you,” the veteran school bus driver said.
When Hall learned her bus was one of a handful in the state selected to test out a new extended stop sign, she was unsure at first it would work. But after two months out on the road, the results have been rewarding.
"I think when they first saw this huge thing come out in front of them, I mean you could see people slam their breaks,” she said.
Cabell County saw a 35 percent reduction in illegal passes since using extended stop sign on school buses. Kanawha saw a 50 percent reduction while Greenbrier reported a 60 percent reduction. Bus drivers said they are encouraged by the numbers but there is still more that could be done.
“I would have liked to see when this first started more law enforcement participation,” said Hall.
School transportation leaders say the biggest issue remains on four lane roads.
"The fact is motorists don't really know just exactly what they are supposed to do,” said Joe Meadows, the director of the Cabell County Schools Transportation Department.
“A lot of people don't know they have to stop on Route 60,” said Hall.
Many people are calling for the WV Department of Education to put public service announcements out. Others want the state Legislature to pass bills making it easier to prosecute those who pass the school buses illegally.
WVDE officials said they anticipate adding the extended stop arms as an option for counties to be able to purchase for their buses.