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Troopers aim to make roads safe for school buses

Posted October 19, 2009

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— For some, the death of a 6-year-old girl in August brings poignancy and urgency to the state Highway Patrol's annual campaign to get drivers to stop for school buses.

First-grader Ashley Ramos-Hernandez had gotten off her school bus and was crossing North Hills Drive when she was hit by a Jeep on Aug. 19. The Jeep's 83-year-old driver, Geraldine Dietz, said she didn't see the bus's stop arm or flashing lights, although witnesses said they were working.

Learn about school bus safety.

School Bus Troopers launch 'Operation Stop Arm'

Parent Latoya Lugo said she got so angry about drivers passing her children's stopped bus that she began videotaping them.

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

"Those are my kids, and I'm worried about my kids getting on and off the bus," she added.

At 11 a.m. Monday, state troopers will launch a weeklong Operation Stop Arm. Troopers will patrol school zones and follow buses to crack down on drivers who don't stop for buses.

Troopers said drivers need to be more aware of school buses.

"I think a lot of times, it's just not paying attention," Sgt. Jeff Gordon, with the state Highway Patrol, said. "People fly by, and when you stop them sometimes, they either did not realize that they ran the school bus, and some people are not aware that the lights were emitting and simply went by."

State law requires drivers to stop for a bus on a two-lane road. Drivers on both sides of a four-lane road have to stop if it doesn't have a median or turning lane.

Drivers on the other side of the road of a stopped school can pass only on a four-lane road with a turning lane or median. Then, only drivers behind the bus have to stop.

Drivers who pass a school bus will get 5 points added to their license.

Starting Dec. 1, a new state law makes it an automatic felony if a driver kills someone while passing a stopped school bus.

42 Comments

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  • killerkestrel Oct 22, 2009

    Red light cameras on school buses?

  • WXYZ Oct 20, 2009

    Hmmm.... One word in "Troopers aim to make roads safe for school buses", is unrealistic...i.e. change "safe" to "safer", and not to local law enforcement, fire and rescue. But, isn't it "too late" if we have to get the help of the various law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel? Do those of us in the private sector not have a responsibility to help one another, especially when it comes to the welfare of children? If I see someone illegally passing a school bus, I will immediately report them to the law if I can. What ever happened the community watch? Perhaps someday, school buses will be equipped with cameras, which will document violations.

  • dmn Oct 19, 2009

    I drive faster than 99% of the folks on the road. Generally 14 over the limit (it's the minimum limit, right?;)), with 2 exceptions: school zones and parking lots. Let me tell you, most of you people are nuts in regards to your driving. The person who posted about that school zone for Carroll on Six Forks is dead on. The limit is 25, I normally drive about 30 and I'm ALWAYS the slowest on the road to the point that others are tailgating, honking, and passing. Then of course I end up passing all of them up Six Forks (past the second school zone) because they DO NOT PAY ATTENTION. I swear, most folks just drive 45-50 everywhere. It does not matter if the limit is 15, 25, 35, 45, the beltline, a parking lot, or a school zone. They just don't pay attention. The poor driving around here record setting. Hang up the phone, hang up the phone, and finally, hang up the phone!!! BTW, I've never seen anyone ever illegaly pass a school bus but I sure have seen plenty stop when should not:(!@#$%!

  • alwayslovingu30 Oct 19, 2009

    I am all for it but if some one hits me how many points do they get.

  • leo-nc Oct 19, 2009

    "Buses are equipped with lots of flashing red, white and yellow lights and reflectors and they are bright yellow for a reason....TO BE SEEN! If you choose to ignore all of the warnings, then you get a certificate worth five points, and that's IF nobody gets hurt. If you say that you can't see the bus, didn't know it was there and picking up kids, PLEASE...turn your license in! They are 11 feet tall 10 feet wide and 40 feet long! If you can't see it, you don't need to be behind the wheel!"--------

    Couldn't have said it better myself

  • Professor Oct 19, 2009

    STOP THE USE OF THE CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. YOU CANNOT READ WHILE DRIVING. STOP AND PULL OVER TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. WE NEED A CELL PHONE LAW FOR THE HIGHWAYS.

  • Professor Oct 19, 2009

    I BELIEVE EVERYONE WHO DRIVES ON THE ROAD AND HIGHWAYS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE YELLOW SCHOOL BUSES AND THE KIDS. IT IS BETTER TO BE SAFE AND NOT SORRY. LEAVE HOME A LITTLE EARLY INSTEAD OF LATE AND RUSHING.

  • Mean Old Mom Oct 19, 2009

    If the troopers are aiming to make the roads safer for school buses, I wonder how many of the bus drivers they will bust? For real, some of them (not all I am sure) drive like bats out of you know what and they are very aggressive in traffic. It would be interesting to see if any of them get a citation this week.

  • iron fist Oct 19, 2009

    Drivers need to pay attention to the school buses. Stop for buses when students are boarding or getting off the bus. Students should not be dragging their feet getting on or off get on sit down get off and move to saftey don't make driver have to sit and wait while you talk to your friends. Also I was going by a school Friday 30mph speed limit a deputy sheriff was in front of me, I drove the speed limit he was out of sight by the time I got by the school leos need to obey the laws also.

  • uknowsomuch Oct 19, 2009

    Ok people, here's the truth. Bus stops are established based on the DPI criteria for safety and for equitability of the students who will use the stop. Wake Co posts all school bus stops on their website. Yes, sometimes house stops are necessary, especially on main roadways with no sidewalks.

    Buses are equipped with lots of flashing red, white and yellow lights and reflectors and they are bright yellow for a reason....TO BE SEEN! If you choose to ignore all of the warnings, then you get a certificate worth five points, and that's IF nobody gets hurt. If you say that you can't see the bus, didn't know it was there and picking up kids, PLEASE...turn your license in! They are 11 feet tall 10 feet wide and 40 feet long! If you can't see it, you don't need to be behind the wheel!

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