Local News

Drivers Fail To Stop For Stopped School Buses

Posted August 20, 2001

— The beginning of the new school year means school buses are back on the road.

Bus drivers are responsible for getting your children to their destinations safely, but they are not the only ones who need to be mindful of school children.

State officials say that children could not be any safer than they are while riding on school buses. However, they say that the danger begins after the school bus stops.

A camera mounted on the stop arm of a Wake County school bus shows the problem. The bus stops to let students off. The camera shows that as a student walks by, a car driving toward the bus that is supposed to stop, does not.

The problem is so serious that state officials now ask bus drivers to count how many times it happens.

Derek Graham, of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, says that on a single day, statewide, motorists passed a school bus while it was stopped to unload or load children 1,744 times.

One Day Stop Arm Violations:

  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools run 50 buses. They were passed 26 times in one day.
  • Wake County Schools run 692 buses. Its drivers counted 157 stop arm violations.
  • Cumberland County Schools' 477 school buses were passed 113 times by drivers.
  • When a bus stops, the stop arm is extended and cars around it should also come to a stop.

    "One of the big dangers for kids is when motorists don't pay attention to the stop sign. When that stop arm is out, motorists are required by law to stop and wait until the stop arm goes back in."

    Not stopping for a school bus could earn you a $250 fine and five points on your driver's license. That is the highest number of points you can get for a moving violation.

    State educators and the DMV have joined the effort, producing a spot about bus safety that will run on TV.

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