5 On Your Side

Drivers need to be aware of school bus safety

Posted October 7, 2009 5:20 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2009 6:26 p.m. EDT

— Latoya Lugo is on a mission to get people to break for stopped school buses.

Lugo said cars constantly just drive by the school buses that stop in front of her Durham home.

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

After nothing else worked, she started videotaping the law breakers.

“Those are my kids and I’m worried about my kids getting on and off the bus,” Lugo said. “I think a lot of times, (they are) just not paying attention.”

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon said he sees it all the time.

“People fly by and when you stop them sometimes they either did not realize that they ran the school bus,” Gordon said. “Some people are not aware that the lights were emitting and simply went by.”

Plenty of people just try to beat the lights. Others are confused about the rules. Most drivers know that everyone just stop for school buses on two-lane roads, but the confusion comes when there are four lanes.

The North Carolina School Bus Safety Web site has more information about school bus safety.

If you have a four-lane road with a turning lane, the traffic that's behind the bus is required to stop. The traffic that's meeting the bus is not required to stop.

The same goes for a four-lane road with a median. Only the traffic going the same direction as the bus has to stop.

A four-lane road without a median or turning lane is different. Gordon said traffic behind the bus and traffic meeting the bus would all be required to stop.

Gordon said the bottom line is, if drivers are not sure, they should just stop.

If a driver is caught passing a school bus with its stop arm out, it counts as a class one misdemeanor and five points on your driver’s license.

If a driver hits a child, he could be charged with felony and spend a year in jail.