Guilford County, NC -- A concerned grandmother from Haw River wrote this to 2WTK: "Why do the stop arms and stop red lights not come out and on until the door comes open. Seems like this may be the reason so many people are passing stopped school buses."
We went to Jeff Harris, Guilford County Schools Transportation Director for the answer. His first response, "National standards dictate the bus be at a complete stop before the red lights come on."
Here's why. When kids see the red lights, they move! They think it's safe. You can't have a moving bus and kids moving toward it.
As for giving drivers more of a warning, before the 80's, North Carolina buses only had a four red light system. Now it's an eight-light system for added warning and here is how it works.
Harris went through the process in a bus so we could show it to you. "The drivers activate the amber lights 300 feet from location of where the kids are. When they come 15 feet they brake and open the passenger door. When the door opens that activates the stop arm and the stop lights on the bus."
Drivers turn on those amber warning lights 300 feet before the bus even stops. Jeff says, it is just like a traffic light.
You know when the light changes to yellow a stop is next.