After two years of searching, bus safety innovator Bus Safety Solutions, which manufactures Extended Stop Arms for school buses, has found a new home at 133 Avgol Drive in Mocksville. The company had outgrown its space on Westpoint Boulevard in Winston-Salem and was eager to relocate to Davie County, where its president and its founder are residents.
“The choice to move to Davie County was not hard: easy access to I-40, low taxes, availability of utilities, and friendly people!” said Scott Geyer, president.
Persistence paid off for the company which first took steps to move to Mocksville more than two years ago. It had hoped to relocate to the old Mocksville Armory at 343 Railroad Street but its rezoning request was denied.
However, through fate, or what Scott considers a Godwink, the company happened upon its new location this fall while filming a video of an Extended Stop Arm installation on an old retired bus at the Davie County School bus garage across the street.
“What are the chances of shooting a video at a school bus garage and looking across the street and seeing a building for lease with the exact square footage you are looking for?” exclaimed Scott. They called the owners and started moving in two weeks later.
The relocation was completed in just four days, ending on the final day of the company’s lease in Winston-Salem. According to Scott, Bus Safety Solutions has put in about $40,000 in leasehold improvements into the 5,000 SF property, using Davie County contractors and suppliers whenever possible. Its eight full-time employees are receiving a travel supplement for making the transition.
“Although some of our staff have a longer commute now, I think I won them over with the excellent selection of restaurants such as La Vita E Bella, The Taco Shop, and of course Scoops!” said Scott.
Bus Safety Solutions invented, patented, and manufactures extended stop arms for school buses. A school bus stop arm typically opens outward 18 inches from the side of the bus, but the Extended Stop Arm increases that distance to as much as 6.5 feet, helping to reduce or eliminate the illegal passing of stopped school buses which has become epidemic nationwide.
In a typical day in the U.S., over 130,000 vehicles pass stopped buses illegally – that’s over 20 million stop-arm violations in a typical school year!
Including other causes, school bus injuries, on average, send around 17,000 U.S. children to the emergency room each year. Crashes account for the highest percentage of injuries, but the second-highest cause is boarding and leaving the bus.
Bus Safety Solutions exemplifies the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention.” Bob Geyer, Scott’s father, and the company’s founder invented the Extended Stop Arm a dozen years ago after several children in Forsyth County were killed getting on and off the school bus.
“After a friend in my church lost his 11-year-old son to a stop arm violation, I just lost it. I knew that someone had to fix this problem. Five years later, that someone was me,” explained Bob, who has turned the day-to-day operational reins over to Scott but is continuing to work in R&D.
“Extended Stop Arms are a proactive technology that works by putting the stop arm directly in the view of the driver,” added Scott. “Whether drivers are distracted, impatient, or don’t know the law, when faced with a stop sign directly in front of them, they will stop.”
Over 2000 Extended Stop Arms are now installed in 200 school districts in 24 US States, 3 Canadian Provinces, and St. Thomas.
“Our school bus safety product is used by 27 school districts in North Carolina. We hope to add Davie County to that list in the coming years!” added Scott. Surrounding school systems with Extended Stop Arms include Yadkin, Rowan, Iredell, Forsyth, and Guilford.
During the last school year, Extended Stop Arms opened and closed more than 15 million times helping to protect the 130,000 students who ride buses with the device attached. In areas where the Extended Stop Arm has been installed, independent studies have shown that the illegal passing of stopped school buses has been dramatically reduced by 50 to 90%, and in some cases 100%. That’s a reduction of as many as 18 million infractions every year!
“Why wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to reduce the threat of injury and death to students?” asked Scott.
“We are so confident in our product performance that we offer a 1-year “hit warranty,” meaning we will cover any hit to the arm for the entire first year of service. Our arms stop the problem of stop arm violations.” He shared that no child has ever been hit on a bus equipped with this patented technology.
“The Extended Stop Arm is the only safety device that can be added to the outside of the bus to “physically” protect the children getting on and off the bus,” he explained. “While the cameras on some school buses provide great detective work by retrieving pictures of drivers and license plates, they cannot “physically” protect the children as the Extended Stop Arm can. Bus Safety Solutions is getting calls from all over the country about the Extended Stop Arm because of the blatant disregard of people passing stopped school buses and endangering children’s lives.”
“The Extended Stop Arm is a proven, dependable product and exceeds Federal Standard 571.131 for School Bus Pedestrian Safety Devices. It is well within the range of school system budgeting, costing around $2800- $3200 depending on options. The Extended Stop Arm can save a child’s life, and if it can save just one child, it is more than worth it.”
Since introducing the first Extended Stop Arm in 2015, Bus Safety Solutions has continued to customize its offerings to meet the needs of different states. The stop arms now come in a variety of lengths with features such as a deactivation switch for close parking or single-lane roads. The company also introduced a heated actuator for super cold climates like Montana and North Dakota and submitted a patent for a special stop arm for Canada a couple of months ago.
The Geyers’ are proud that their products are made in the USA. Scott explained that the manufacturing and sourcing of the different components are outsourced to other North Carolina and U.S. companies. Although a few parts are only available from non-U.S. suppliers, they account for a small proportion of the total. The updated electronic control board is now manufactured by a company in Winston-Salem. “Using as many local suppliers as possible makes good monetary and logistical sense,” said Scott. “We are eager to begin supplier relationships with many of the manufacturers in town.”
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, considers the company a perfect fit for Davie County. “With creativity, innovation, and determination, the Bus Solution Group finally located a home in Davie County. Ironically, they have settled in a location behind our school bus garage. Making safety for all school-age children is their core business. We are proud to celebrate another family group of entrepreneurs in our community.”
For more information about the Extended Stop Arm contact Bus Safety Solutions at 336-671-0838 or learn more at www.bussafetysolutions.com.