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State-wide School Bus Stop Safety Campaign Kicks Off

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RALEIGH — Making sure children are safe at their school bus stops is a major concern for parents, so the North Carolina Crime Control and Public Safety Department is making bus stop safety a top priority this school year. The department kicked off its statewide campaign Wednesday morning in Raleigh.

This is the second time in two years the state has carried out such a campaign. This year, the focus is on safety at the school bus stop. Officials are encouraging parents to make every possible effort to have at least one adult present at each bus stop.

Studies show that student fatalities most often occur when children are run over by their own school buses.

"No bus stop is completely safe as long as it's going to be anywhere on a public road," said bus driver Mickey Finn. "[That's] because of the other drivers involved, sometimes carelessness, sometimes forgetfulness, sometimes just not paying attention to what's going on around them."

Another big focus of this year's campaign is encouraging drivers to observe the swinging stop signs on buses. Failure to stop when a school bus is stopped and displaying its sign can lead to fines or even arrest, and elevated insurance rates and Division of Motor Vehicles points.

One major topic of discussion at Wednesday's kick-off conference was "stranger danger." Fresh in everyone's memories was the kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Brittany Locklear, abducted from her Hoke County school bus stop this past January.

With schools opening for the 1998-99 school year in a matter of days, officials hope people will begin to think about safety.

If you have some questions, or a problem with your child's school bus route or bus stop that you want to resolve, here are some numbers you can call. The people in these offices can get you in the right direction. In many cases, school transportation officials say your best bet may be to call your child's school directly. You can also call the school bus supervisor appointed to oversee your school district.
  • Wake County: 856-8050
  • Durham County: 560-3821
  • Cumberland County: (910) 678-2582
  • Orange County: 732-2531
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