5 On Your Side

Drivers need to be aware of school bus safety

Posted October 7, 2009

— Latoya Lugo is on a mission to get people to break for stopped school buses.

Lugo said cars constantly just drive by the school buses that stop in front of her Durham home.

“I scream at them, wave my arms. Nobody listens. The bus driver will blow the horn. They just keep going,” Lugo said.

After nothing else worked, she started videotaping the law breakers.

“Those are my kids and I’m worried about my kids getting on and off the bus,” Lugo said. “I think a lot of times, (they are) just not paying attention.”

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon said he sees it all the time.

Wake County students catch the school bus. Drivers warned to stop for school buses

“People fly by and when you stop them sometimes they either did not realize that they ran the school bus,” Gordon said. “Some people are not aware that the lights were emitting and simply went by.”

Plenty of people just try to beat the lights. Others are confused about the rules. Most drivers know that everyone just stop for school buses on two-lane roads, but the confusion comes when there are four lanes.

The North Carolina School Bus Safety Web site has more information about school bus safety.

If you have a four-lane road with a turning lane, the traffic that's behind the bus is required to stop. The traffic that's meeting the bus is not required to stop.

The same goes for a four-lane road with a median. Only the traffic going the same direction as the bus has to stop.

A four-lane road without a median or turning lane is different. Gordon said traffic behind the bus and traffic meeting the bus would all be required to stop.

Gordon said the bottom line is, if drivers are not sure, they should just stop.

If a driver is caught passing a school bus with its stop arm out, it counts as a class one misdemeanor and five points on your driver’s license.

If a driver hits a child, he could be charged with felony and spend a year in jail.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • happily married Oct 12, 2009


    "dhamma:I fail to understand School Buses period. 1) How can they be safe, no seat belts and just padded seats 2) Why are they even allowed on the interstates when they cannot go above 45mph 3) Why do the need to stop every 50 to 100 feet"

    If you go the the above link it will answer your questions!!!

  • Timbo Oct 12, 2009

    The other problem is buses being allowed on interstates. I see no reason for a bus full of kids to be on I-40 during rush hour. They are an accident waiting for a place to happen.

  • Timbo Oct 12, 2009

    Wake County mandated "Early Out Wednesdays", when buses are on the roads sometimes as early as 1:15, exacerbates child safety issues. Hopefully the new Board will roll back this ridiculous policy.

  • gotitmadecij Oct 9, 2009

    amen on fewer stops , maybe thats why every body tries to pass or get in front of a school bus. The buses stop at every house and sometimes traffic is backed up for miles.Or make a law that buses must pull over and let traffic clear if more than three cars are behind them like overwidth farm equipment must do.

  • DurhamChick Oct 9, 2009

    dcatz..I think your comment was very ignorant. Do you even have ANY KIDS that go to school. How can you even say a child is lazy they can't control the transportation system about where the buses stop. You need to get you facts straight. By the Way I am Latoya Lugo! I am on a mission. I see these cereal box licensed drivers every single day. They pass the bus. I have seen countless times that cars has almost hit the back of my kids bus. My kids are not lazy. We live on a busy highway. It is not my fault that some people drive unlicensed or licensed and don't care enough about the laws. It is sad that people are going to blame the kids!

  • tarheelcoach Oct 8, 2009

    "I also think we as drivers should be warned of school buses period!! They are more dangerous than other cars on the road."

    Sorry, mom2, you are flat out wrong -
    School buses, despite traveling over 5 million miles a day and transporting well over half the student population, are responsible for only 4% of the injuries.
    - National Academies' Transportation Research Board

    Buses are MUCH safer than a car. If you have a problem with an individual driver, report that driver. But understand that your child is safer on any bus than in any car or truck you could own.

  • sharris19 Oct 8, 2009

    It burns me up when other drivers stop for school buses when they don"t have to...if you are going to drive on the roads you need to know the rules!

  • dcatz Oct 8, 2009

    I've got a better idea.

    How about for each street, have two drop-off points, one for each side of a road. It should be illegal to have any routes that require children to cross the road and it's stupid to have the bus stop every 15 feet because people's children are too lazy to actually walk.

    BTW, I've seen cops run school buses before too.

  • dhamma Oct 8, 2009

    I fail to understand School Buses period.
    1) How can they be safe, no seat belts and just padded seats
    2) Why are they even allowed on the interstates when they cannot go above 45mph
    3) Why do the need to stop every 50 to 100 feet

  • Rolling Along Oct 8, 2009

    Maybe we just need to send all drivers back for some more education?