With the start of the school year right around the corner, it is a great time to discuss school bus safety, and talk with our children about some very important safety rules. It is also a good time to review how we as the motoring public should behave when interacting with school buses on our roadways.
As adults we need to teach our children the important safety rules of bus riding. These rules start even before they get on a bus. Have children at their bus stop at least five minutes before the estimated bus arrival time. Never run to or from a bus. Never stand in the blind spot of a bus, or be anywhere close enough to the bus to touch it other than the doorway. If the child has to cross a street or roadway to get on the bus, have them wait until the bus’s stop arm, and flashing red lights have come on. Then have them look both ways, and wait for traffic to stop, before walking across the road. Finally, always use the handrail when getting on or off the bus.
After getting on a bus, take their seat as quickly as they can, and always face forward. They need to place book bags, and other bulky items under the seat. Keep the aisle way of the bus clear at all times. Remind them to keep their hands, arms, and heads inside the windows. Become, and stay quiet whenever the bus comes to a railroad crossing. Lastly, but most importantly, always listen to the bus driver’s instructions.
North Carolina General Statute 20-217 Motor vehicles to stop for properly marked and designated school buses in certain instances" reads as follows; When a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle which approaches the bus from any direction on the same street, highway or public vehicular area shall bring the vehicle to a full stop and shall remain stopped. The driver of the other vehicle shall not proceed to move, pass or attempt to pass the school bus until after the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red lights have been turned off and the bus has started to move."
Any person who passes a stopped school bus is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and shall pay a minimum $500 fine. There will be five points applied towards their driver’s license. If any person willingly violates this section, and strikes any person, they shall be guilty of a Class I Felony, and shall pay a minimum fine of $1,250 fine. If the strike results in death, the person shall be guilty of a Class H Felony and shall pay a minimum fine of $2,500.
If you have any questions about this law or any other section of law, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-878-3180.
Darren Campbell is the Iredell County Sheriff.