Local News

Traffic campaign aimed at school bus safety begins next week

Posted October 16, 2014

— School bus safety is an issue that's been top of mind in recent weeks after several students were hit by drivers who failed to stop for buses.

On Sept. 30, Michael Burgess Jr. was crossing the street in Apex to get on his school bus when a teen driver hit him. The 11-year-old spent a week in the hospital and is still recovering from his injuries.

A few days after Burgess, siblings German Arroyo-Correa, 10, and Areli Arroyo-Correa, 5, were seriously injured by a car while boarding their school bus in Wilson County.

In both cases, the buses had come to a complete stop and had their safety lights and stop arms activated.

Bus drivers say something has to change.

According to the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program, during a one-day count in 2012, bus drivers across the state reported seeing more than 3,000 vehicles passing stopped school buses in which children were getting on or getting off the bus.

In a continuing effort to prevent tragedies, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol next week plans to kick off its annual campaign, "Operation Stop Arm," to promote traffic safety around schools, school buses and school bus stops.

Approximately 1,500 state troopers will focus on school zones, trail buses and target and ticket drivers who don't obey traffic and safety laws. In recent years, troopers have issued thousands of traffic citations in and around schools and school buses.

Drivers like Trip Hatley, who drives for the Wake County Public School System, hope it gets drivers' attention.

"We just have thousands of drivers in this county alone that go along with their face in a phone instead of in a windshield," he said.

The penalties are stiff. A violation involving a school bus is a Class I misdemeanor but carries five points on a driver's license. It is an automatic felony if someone is hit or killed.

"I think a lot of it has to do merely with people in a rush," said Lt. Jeff Gordon with the Highway Patrol. "You can also sprinkle in there distracted driving, which is also a big, big component of this problem."


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  • Melvin Denis Oct 17, 2014
    user avatar

    It should have started this morning.

  • Pepe Silvia Oct 17, 2014

    View quoted thread

    What do seat belts have anything to do with people not stopping for a stopped school bus?

  • NiceNSmooth Oct 17, 2014

    lol.. too late two bus accidents in the last two days

  • babylaceycarpenter Oct 17, 2014

    These things are “announced” so that the officers are not overwhelmed, while doing these “crackdowns”. With drivers knowing about these “crackdowns”, in advance, most of them will practice compliance with the driving laws, making only those who don’t care about school bus safety, stand out. If there was no prior notice, officers would be worked into the ground. It’s no different than announcing “license and alcohol checkpoints” during holiday seasons. These notices cause drivers to either be much more careful in and around these posts, or to suggest that drivers use a different route, to avoid these checkpoints.

  • Dan Carter Oct 16, 2014
    user avatar

    Why do law enforcement officials need news reporters to spotlight problems, and why do they announce "crackdowns" on holidays......why not have a steady everyday watchful eye on speeders and drunk drivers ?

  • theliberadicator Oct 16, 2014

    How can you have a safety campaign for vehicles that don't have seat belts?

  • busyb97 Oct 16, 2014

    Hopefully, they are in unmarked cars. Everyone behaves when they know a cop is there (that's why no one passes a cop on the highway!).