Wyndmere buses keeping students safe by tackling stop arm violations

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:09 PM CST
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WYNDMERE, N.D. (Valley News Live) - After too many close calls, a southern Valley school district decided to take safety into their own hands by making school bus stop arms longer to ensure student pick up and drop off went without any accidents.

“We went from 15 (incidents) per year to none,” Wyndmere school board member Chris Busche said.

“If you’re meeting someone in the street and you see a stop sign right in the middle of your windshield, you can’t say, ‘I didn’t see it,’” Vance Vosberg, the district’s former bus superintendent said.

Before the district decided on the extended stop arms, Busche says school leaders considered getting stop arm cameras, but said ultimately, they felt that would only put a bandaid on the issue.

“When you think about putting a camera on the bus, that’s not really stopping anybody,” Busche said.

“Let’s be proactive. We’re talking about student safety. It’s definitely worth it,” Wyndmere Superintendent Anthony Morrison said.

Six of Wyndmere’s nine buses have had the six-foot stop arms made in North Carolina since mid-2020. The district is one of the first and only in North Dakota to elevate bus safety for students.

“These are LED lights and they really show up. You gotta be blind not to see them!” Vosberg said.

Costing around $1,100 per unit, school leaders say the investment was a no-brainer, especially when you consider the alternative scenarios.

“If you have an incident where a child gets hurt or worse, do the math on that for what that’s going to cost in dollars, bad PR, lawsuits,” Vosberg said.

“It’s all in the price of the safety of your kids,” current Wyndmere Bus Superintendent Chuck Strege said.

All four men say they hope their story prompts other districts to do their research and make the six-foot switch.

“These will definitely help your problem if not completely solve it. I believe in it that much,” Strege said.

North Dakota state law says those who violate bus stop arms will be fined $100 dollars and have six points put on their license, which puts you halfway to having your license suspended.