BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – The Upshur County Board of Education has begun the journey of making school buses in the county brighter and safer.

The county unveiled its new illuminated school bus signs in Buckhannon on Tuesday.

The super-bright signs give drivers a visual notice that they need to stop and give the bus and students, the right of way. Board members said drivers need to know that four-way stops and school parking lots are common areas where the law requires them to stop. Fines for disobeying laws around school buses come in three stages, with the driver losing his license for 60 days on a first offense.

The new illuminated bus’s pilot driver said she has already noticed a difference with the new safety lights in place. “Well, I notice that people notice me more and they do stop when they see me, where, a few times, you know, they went through my lights, and now, it’s like automatic, when they see me coming, they slow down,” said Upshur County bus driver Cathy Grill.

Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory explained that the signs fix a real problem that he has seen in the county.

“Every school year, we encounter some instances where folks fail to stop for a school bus, and it is a graduated offense, meaning that fines increase and consequences increase as the incidences increase for first and second and third offense,” said Gregory.

The cost for the new safety feature is $2,000 per bus. The county hopes to have all 46 buses in its fleet equipped as soon as financially possible.