Safety

Maine District Adds Extended Stop Arms to Some School Buses

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on August 29, 2019
Regional School Unit 57 in Waterboro, Maine, has added nine extended stop arms to its school bus fleet. Photo courtesy Matt Kearns
Regional School Unit 57 in Waterboro, Maine, has added nine extended stop arms to its school bus fleet. Photo courtesy Matt Kearns

WATERBORO, Maine — A school district here has added extended stop arms to a handful of its buses that run on routes with heavy commuter traffic and where bus drivers previously experienced several illegal passing incidents.

Regional School Unit 57 (RSU 57) added the longer stop arms, which attach to the regular stop arm and stick out 6 feet with the inclusion of the regular stop arm, to nine of its buses, Matt Kearns, the director of transportation for the district, told School Bus Fleet.  

The district piloted one extended stop arm from May to June in 2018 on a bus route with multiple illegal passing incidents. After adding it, Kearns said, violations on that route decreased down to almost none.

“That is when we decided to invest in the stop arms on multiple buses in our district,” he added.  

Later that summer, RSU 57 installed four more of the extended stop arms, which are made and sold by Bus Safety Solutions, for the 2018-19 school year. The district recently added three more to its school bus fleet in time for the start of the school year on Sept. 4.

“We are a rural district but have many routes that are heavy with commuter traffic to bigger cities and that's where we are targeting our efforts at this time and seeing improved overall compliance,” Kearns added.

Overall, bus drivers have seen a dramatic decrease in stop-arm running incidents since their buses were equipped with the extra-long stop arms. Similar to the pilot results, most drivers have gone from experiencing several incidents per week to none, Kearns said.  

He thinks the addition of the extended stop arms is a “no-brainer investment” for pupil transportation operations due to the potential to further boost safety, he added.

“So many people nowadays are distracted or have tunnel vision, and the biggest excuse we always receive is ‘I didn't see the lights,’ or ‘I didn't see the bus,’” Kearns said. “Now the stop sign is put right out in front of them. I feel it has definitely increased our student safety overall at bus stops.”

RSU 57 has also installed about 20 stop-arm cameras and dashboard cameras in buses to help catch stop-arm violators.

Extended stop arms are in use in other states, including West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas. Additionally, the Indiana attorney general recently released an opinion approving their use.

Related Topics: Maine, stop arms, stop-arm running/illegal passing

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 3 )
  • Fonzi

     | about 14 days ago

    Who's gonna keep track of the buses that get put out of service or that need to have a spare bus sent to finish the route when someone runs into that extra arm ??

  • See all comments
More Stories
NAPT Conference and Trade Show scholarship deadlines are almost here. Shown here is Michael Martin, NAPT's executive director, speaking at the 2018 conference in Kansas City, Mo.
News

NAPT Scholarship Deadlines Approaching

The National Association for Pupil Transportation Conference and Trade Show deadline for two related scholarships is Sept. 18. The Sol Englander Innovation in School Transportation Safety Scholarship deadline is Oct. 11.

In Iowa, lap-shoulder belts will be required on all new school buses ordered as of Oct. 2. File photo courtesy Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools
News

Iowa to Require Seat Belts on All New School Buses

Lap-shoulder belts will be required on all new school buses ordered as of Oct. 2. Safety equipment such as a second stop arm, hand rails, exterior boarding lights, and fire-resistant crash barriers are also required.

The Kansas State Department of Education’s “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” campaign includes bumper stickers donated by Collins Bus Corp. Photo courtesy Collins Bus Corp.
News

Kansas Launches School Bus Safety Campaign

The state Department of Education’s “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” includes social media reminders, posters, and safety flyers, as well as bumper stickers donated by Collins Bus Corp.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!