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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Back to School: Slow down, watch for kids, be safe in school zones

Posted August 27

Editor's note: It's time for Go Ask Mom's annual reminder about school bus laws. Make smart decisions, people! Be safe!

Monday is the first day for traditional calendar schools, which means pretty much every single school in the region will be in session starting Monday.

That means school buses across the region will be on the roads on Monday. So, let's all take a moment to review school bus safety laws.

Let's also remember that kids don't just take the bus to get to school. Some walk along roads with no sidewalks (including my own grade schooler - with me by her side, of course). Some are crossing streets. Some new drivers are on their way to local high schools.

Everybody: Please put your phones down and pay attention, especially in areas around schools. Don't be the driver who laid on her horn and tried to pull out around another car that had stopped so my daughter and I could cross the street on a CROSSWALK THAT WAS DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF A LARGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AS SCHOOL LET OUT.

Yes - I'm yelling. Because years later, that experience still drives me absolutely nuts. I have so many words I'd like to share with that woman beyond the G-rated "What the what!?!?" I screamed at her as she drove by, avoiding any chance of eye contact with me.

I understand that it may take you an extra minute to get to work because you have to wait for a child to cross the street. When you're running late, I totally get it. That extra lost minute is a bummer.

But, here's the alternative: You may plow down a child as she's trying to get to school. And, sadly, we've seen plenty of those news stories in recent years.

If you need even more incentive to obey the laws other than, you know, not seriously injuring or killing a child, here are the penalties in North Carolina for failing to comply with school zone and school bus safety rules.

  • A $500 penalty for motorists who are caught passing a stopped school bus, with the possibility of license revocation.
  • Five points on motorists’ driver’s license and eight points for commercial vehicles for passing a stopped school bus.
  • A $250 penalty for speeding in a school zone.

So, let's all make a pact to do better this year. We're talking about kids and their safety, after all.

Sarah, Go Ask Mom's editor, is a mom of two.

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