Fayetteville, N.C. — The circumstances are different in each case, but there is a united mission across the state to keep kids safe as they board the school bus.

A pilot program in six counties, including Cumberland, is aimed at making stopped buses more known to drivers. A six-foot stop arm, which extends into the next lane, has been installed to make the buses more visible.

Wendy Lewis drives bus 667 for Luther Nick Jeralds Middle School in Fayetteville. She has been driving for years, and said she has had some close calls with drivers.

“They drive by, they run it and keep going,” said Lewis. “They don’t even stop, knowing good and well I’m stopping to put a kid off. They run it anyway.”

On Monday, a teenager was hit and killed by a car in Onslow County while attempting to board the bus that had its stop arm extended.

Lewis said her bus is now equipped with the longer stop arm.

“It’s working pretty good because I have a double stop,” she said.

Diane Grumelot runs the school’s transportation department. She said one person did run through one of the extended arms, but they seem to be making things safer.

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