Local News

Wake County making changes to school bus boarding procedures

Posted June 23, 2015
Updated June 24, 2015

Wake County schools are changing the way students get on and off school buses.

Keeping kids safe is the motivation behind the new bus boarding plan by the Wake County Public School System. According to the state, about 3,000 drivers pass stopped school busses every day in North Carolina.

In February, Five on Your Side Investigates highlighted the dangers with a report that revealed how Wake County kids were crossing streets before dawn with cars racing past them.

Wake County bus drivers usually turn on the red lights, stop sign, crossing bar and opened the door all at once.

In the new process, the bus driver will use a switch to extend the stop sign on the side of the bus and turn on the red flashing lights. The bus driver will then check traffic before deploying the crossing bar and opening the doors.

This new rule means students must wait until the second step before leaving the bus stop and entering the school bus.

“It will now be up to the bus driver as to when they load that bus instead of waiting on the motoring public to stop,” said Scott Gaitan, assistant principal of Wilburn Elementary School. “The bus driver will be able to ensure that those students are safe loading that bus.”

The school system said this new plan will put more time between alerting drivers that the bus is stopping and allowing students to cross the road.

“I think that the new bus process may be very helpful and might be best for the school,” fourth-grader Saul Morrugeres said. “Sometimes when I ride the bus I can see kids running while cars come, so this might be helpful.”

Officials said it's still important for drivers to stop for students—that's one rule that will never change.

The new bus boarding plan will start July 7.


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  • James McFetridge Jun 24, 2015
    user avatar

    It should further be noted that students should move quickly and purposefully when boarding and leaving a school bus as well. Running is dangerous, but dragging your feet and taking your sweet time to get off the street like you have no care in the world can get you hit by a car! Parents, please advise your children of all safety procedures, as well as teaching them proper courtesy to those who must sit there and wait.

  • Kevin Weidner Jun 23, 2015
    user avatar

    WHY has this not been the procedure all along? You would think that somewhere along the way, someone, anyone might have thought that it would be a great idea to turn on the lights, roll to a stop, verify that traffic has stopped, BEFORE opening the door to the bus. Great Job Wake County.

    Perhaps we don't need as many new buses as previously thought -
    "OH - You mean that little door opens and we can put MORE gas in and the bus will keep running"????