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New feature added on UCPS buses to better ensure student and driver safety

Several Union County Public Schools (UCPS) buses will have a slightly different look this new school year. About 30 buses will have extended stop arms to assist in the safety of students, bus drivers, and motorists. Extended stop arms

The new safety feature was placed on select buses this past May, ahead of summer learning camp. Traditional school bus stop arms extend to about 21 inches from the bus (a little less than two feet), the new extended stop arms reach 79 inches from the bus (about six and a half feet) into the lane of oncoming traffic. The feature also has an additional stop sign and blinking lights. 

“The extended stop arms do two things, one is it provides an enhanced visual notification for approaching motorists that a passenger stop is being made,” said Scott Denton, UCPS transportation director. “It also requires our drivers to focus on the passenger stop procedure and part of that procedure requires them to check traffic in both directions before deploying their stop arm.”

With state funds, UCPS was able to bring the new feature to Union County. Denton said that more buses may have this safety feature as time goes on, and based on the experiences with the current devices. He added that the safety feature has been piloted in several counties in North Carolina. 

“I’m hoping with this new safety feature will make an impact on people running the stops arms,” said Dottie Nash, a UCPS bus driver who has the device on her bus. “Sometimes I think that people just don’t pay attention and that is dangerous for the students that you’re trying to get across the road. I’m hoping that this will improve the safety of all of our students.”

“This device will help ensure that any students that have to cross the roadway will be better protected from motorists. That’s our primary goal, that’s why we are in this business to provide safe transportation,” added Denton.

UCPS plans to run approximately 230 buses for the 2021-2022 school year.

For more information on the UCPS transportation department, click here.