STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- A pilot program testing extended school bus stop arms is expanding.
The North Carolina Department of Instruction is paying for 300 more extended stop arms to be installed in 20 counties across N.C. including Stokes, Guilford, Randolph, Wilkes and Montgomery county.
The extended stop arm reaches out 6 feet into traffic. A typical stop arm is about 18 inches.
"It protects the child and gives them one more lane of safety before they step into traffic," explained Robert Geyer, President of Bus Safety Solutions.
Robert Geyer, of Randolph County, invented the extended bus arm after a close friend's son was killed getting off of the school bus.
The state launched a pilot program in 2015 to test the extended stop arms on school buses. Guilford County was chosen to participate.
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During Operation Stop Arm, officers go out into communities and watch for people who violate school bus laws. Guilford County saw a decrease in violations after installing the extended bus stop arms.
In 2014, before the new stop arms were installed, police in Guilford County counted 197 bus stop violations in the one-day study. The most recent study in 2016, shows 160 stop arm violations in the same time period.
Brad Lankford, the Director of Transportation for Stokes County Schools, hopes to see similar results.
"School buses are the safest mode of transportation with the exception of the bus stop. That's where children are most vulnerable," Lankford said. "So having these extended stop arms will make the bus more visible. We think that they will help us keep our kids safe."
Stokes County has a total of 81 school buses. The extended bus stop arms have been installed on 25 of the buses.
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