PEI

Extended stop signs could improve school bus safety

Extended stop sign arms on school buses has helped reduce illegal passing in Virginia, and a local transportation official believes they could work in P.E.I. as well.

'It was impressive'

The stop signs on the Virginia school buses extend out into the lane of opposing traffic. (Submitted by Jim Foley)

Extended stop sign arms on school buses has helped reduce illegal passing in Virginia, and a local transportation official believes they could work in P.E.I. as well.

There has been a renewed discussion of school bus safety on P.E.I. after a six-year-old girl was narrowly missed while boarding a school bus last week.

The aluminum arms are usually between 1.5 and two metres long and have flashing lights and a stop sign. They reach part-way across the road, making them more visible to drivers in the other lane.

Jim Foley, director of transportation for Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia, a district was part of a pilot project that tested the extended arms, said reaction to the stop signs was even better than he hoped.

"We did some before data-gathering on ten buses and then installed the arms and then did some after data-collection," said Foley.

P.E.I. school bus stop signs are attached directly to the bus.

"What we found was during that initial pilot was that it reduced the number of people running our lights by 55 per cent. It was impressive. It was actually a higher percentage than I would have thought."

Each arm costs a few thousand dollars, including installation, he said.

Foley recommended using multiple solutions to stop illegal passing, including cameras to capture licence plates as vehicles pass.

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With files from Island Morning

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