Local school forces drivers who pass stopped buses to take a second look

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WARREN, Ark. — Schools in Warren are making a dramatic change to buses to stop cars from illegally passing them.

Buses are getting extended stop sign arms, so drivers will either have to hit the brakes or part of the bus.

“It is directly in the driver’s face,” said Transportation Director Matthew Valentine. “You can not miss the sign.”

The sign arm extends out about 6.5 feet, more than 3 times longer than the standard sign.

Valentine says they needed something that would get your attention. He says almost daily he takes reports from his bus drivers about cars that didn’t stop.

“There is a large concern there for any child who has to cross the street. We get 15 to 20 illegal passes a month,” he added.

Valentine says the district has been trying to find a solution for years with no success.

“We have violation reports turned into the prosecutor, we’ve tried honking the horn, flashing the lights,” he explained.

The signs are distributed by Nationwide Bus Parts Inc which says they aren’t breaking any rules since that space is already protected when a bus stops.

If a car does hit the sign, part of the arm is designed to break off so it doesn’t cause a bigger accident.

“What is a child’s life worth? You can’t put a price on that,” Valentine said.

Since the first sign in Warren went in a week ago, there has been a noticeable difference.

“I’ve had no violations on this route this week,” Valentine said.

Valentine said he wants these stop arms to become a statewide requirement, and that plans to speak with lawmakers about getting it in the books.

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