Local News

Wake public schools, State Patrol hold demo to increase school bus safety

Posted August 30, 2019 3:00 p.m. EDT
Updated August 30, 2019 5:55 p.m. EDT

— Officials from Wake County Public School and the State Highway Patrol joined forces Friday to promote school bus safety, holding a demonstration to curb incidents where kids could be hurt while entering and exiting their buses.

The county transports about 160,000 students during the academic year to and from school grounds. And the county employs over 700 school buses for the effort.

The county and law enforcement officers held the media event to spread awareness about the perils students face when getting on and getting off a school bus.

During the demonstration, students from Panther Creek high school joined with a Wake school bus driver to illustrate the perils youngsters face daily.

"I think it's important to know how to safely get on and get off the bus," student Carolyn Dreyer said. "And also be aware of the bus drivers' signals."

Erick Edwards is a long time bus driver for Wake County public schools. He says distractions and distracted drivers can put student safety at risk. 

"It's very easy to distinguish," he said. "It's nice and yellow."

He said drivers should pay attention to the amber lights on buses because those are the ones that signal when the driver is about to stop.

Once the bus stops, the driver checks the surrounding traffic and then activates the red lights, the stop sign and other safety measures on the vehicle. Eachbus is equipped with an on board camera.

Motorists should be aware that law enforcement officers monitor school zones and bus stops.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Knox said troopers know school bus routes and are looking for drivers who don't give school buses the right of way when they are loading and unloading.

Under North Carolina law, anyone caught passing a stopped school bus or violating school bus safety rules can face hefty fines. And depending on the severity of the incident, a driver could face a felony charge.