Passing a stopped school bus? Cameras could catch you

Posted April 12, 2011

School Bus

— Each day in North Carolina, more than 2,000 drivers illegally pass public school buses, and the state has the video to prove it’s happening.

The state is mounting cameras on the stop arms of some school buses to catch violators in the act.

“It’s not just a matter of grabbing the license tag and seeing what car passed. In order to prosecute, you have to be able to identify the driver,” said Derek Graham, chief of the state Department of Public Instruction's transportation services section.

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person will receive five points on his or her driver's license and be subject to fines up to $200.

Passing a stopped school bus and hitting a person is a felony in North Carolina. Since 1998, 10 North Carolina students have been killed by drivers who passed stopped school buses.

bus cameras Passing a stopped school bus? Cameras could catch you

Ashley Ramos-Hernandez, 6, was hit and killed on Aug. 19, 2009, by Geraldine Baron Deitz, 84, who had passed a stopped school bus.

Deitz had to pay a $500 fine and give up her driver's license for a year as part of her sentence. She was also sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $130 in court costs. If she wanted her license reinstated, she also had to undergo a medical review.

“The danger for the kids is when motorists don’t pay attention when (students) are getting on and off the bus,” Graham said.

In one day, the Department of Public Instruction spotted 287 drivers passing stopped school buses in Wake County, 139 in Cumberland County and 52 in Durham County.

The cameras will be paid for with a $30,000 grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Program.

The Department of Public Instruction hopes to purchase at least five cameras as part of the pilot program and install them before the end of this school year. There was no word yet on what counties will receive the cameras.


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  • gopack07 Apr 14, 2011

    "I am so glad they are doing this! Now they just need to educate drivers about when they actually DO have to stop and when they don't. Like they don't have to stop on a four lane road with a turn lane or median if the bus is coming from the opposite direction." --rescuefan

    I agree. I still get confused as to if I have to stop on a 4 lane road with a median. Clarification from the news would be a good start.

  • Fireflies Rock Apr 13, 2011

    How sad that this is even necessary?! EVERYONE with a license should know to stop behind a school bus that is stopping. Where's the common sense and courtesy? I can't believe some of these comments I'm seeing; there is no excuse to pass a bus which is dropping off or picking up kids, putting their lives in jeopardy. There are a lot of thoughtless and selfish people out there, and a lot of them seem to be posting on GOLO.

  • texastransplant Apr 13, 2011

    My kids are long graduated from school and no longer ride the bus, however, I still live in the district and the schools have not moved. I know the time of day that the buses are moving. It's a pretty simple thing to adjust ones schedule. If you must travel in an unfamiliar territory it is really that hard for you to do a little homework and see if there are any schools in the area? The road does belong to everyone, even the occasional fools on bicycles that that ride 4 across the lane.

  • texastransplant Apr 13, 2011

    Is your job, date, et al more important than the child? If so, God help you if you procreate.

  • Fuquay Resident Apr 13, 2011

    Iworkforaliving, I'm not saying you're laying but, the stop sign doesn't come out until the door opens and goes in when the door closes. Unless this bus is driving accross 4 lanes of traffic with the door open, this isn't possible. Maybe you need to call the school system and let them know there is a problem with the bus.

  • kjackson47 Apr 13, 2011

    People complain about the dumbest things

  • Glock23 Apr 13, 2011

    Oh Snap....LambeauSouth you got me! Assuming I speed? Hmmmmm. Stereotype much. Oh, and does a governor keep the bus from pulling over? Love to get it in with you, but alas I am working for my living.

  • Iworkforaliving Apr 13, 2011

    How about the school buses on lake boone every morning after they pick up the kids they leave the stop sign out and there lights on and then turn left across 4 lanes of traffic so they can do a u turn?

  • barbstillkickin Apr 13, 2011

    I have never ever past a stopped school bus. Do people realize just how valuable that cargo is. I think if a person passes a stopped school bus they should be arrested. Kids are not careful therefore we adults need to be. STOP AT EVERY STOPPED SCHOOL BUS. SAVE A LIFE!!!!!!!

  • LambeauSouth Apr 13, 2011

    I DO BELIEVE glock23 that the buses have what used to be known as a govener on the throttle and can only reach a certain speed,
    you should try it I hear it saves on gas too!