ALVARADO, Texas — A school district here recently completed a pilot program to install extended stop arms on some of its buses.
Alvarado Independent School District equipped a total of four of its buses with the extended stop arms after bus drivers reported multiple illegal passing incidents, according to a news release from S.A.F.E. Gates, the supplier of the extra-long stop arms. The district conducted the pilot from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30.
Terry Wood, the district’s operations manager, used feedback from bus drivers to determine which routes had the highest number of stop-arm runners. The four routes that were chosen reportedly had between four and six violations per day, Wood said. During the 30-day pilot period, he estimated that there would be approximately 320 illegal passing incidents.
However, by the end of the pilot, S.A.F.E. Gates reported a total of six stop-arm violations.
The extended stop arms from S.A.F.E. Gates are designed to be seen from over 1 mile away and feature 3-inch wide 3M reflective tape and LED lights on the front and back, as School Bus Fleet previously reported.
“My drivers that have the S.A.F.E. Gates love them,” Wood said. “Even though it hasn't completely stopped all [stop-arm] runners, we are still at about 95% reduction [in violations], which is huge.”
Woods also said that the success of the pilot has motivated Alvarado Independent School District to install extended stop arms on its entire fleet.
Several other districts that have installed extended stop arms on their buses include those in Maine, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Additionally, the Indiana attorney general recently released an opinion approving their use.