Labor Day was this past weekend, thus marking the end of the summer. This means the kids are back in school and school buses are out in full force traffic, will be slower. It is the law to stop for buses; however, every year there are unfortunate accidents involving injuries to children by drivers who pass stopped school buses. The North Carolina Department of Transportation released a graphic explaining when and where to stop for school buses:
North Carolina School Bus Stop Law
When you find yourself in one of the situations above, you must stop while the bus' Stop Arm is out and the red lights are flashing. You should not start moving again, or attempt to pass the school bus, until after the Stop Arm "has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has started to move."
Take This Law Seriously
This is not just a trivial traffic law; violating the North Carolina School Bus Stop Law can have serious consequences. For simple violations, you could be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor and receive a minimum $ 500 fine. Willful violations can result in a conviction of a Class I felony and a minimum $ 1,250 fine. Should you strike and kill a person, you can be convicted of a Class H felony and receive a minimum $ 2,500 fine and also face much more serious consequences. Revocation of your driver's license can also occur in certain situations. ".
Not only are the penalties high for violations of the law, there is also a system in place to catch those who do pass stopped school buses. Since 1999, North Carolina has been conducting a safety campaign called Operation STOP ARM which includes the use of video surveillance to catch violators of the law. Additionally, as The Dispatch reported, State Troopers frequently follow buses, and will patrol areas where they have received complaints of violations-complaints most commonly coming from bus drivers themselves.
What Can You Do?
Therefore, it is important for you to take this law seriously, as the consequences are far from trivial. Simply remember that when it comes to school bus safety, know when to stop. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road and always be alert when passing a school bus. Additionally, should you see any violators passing school buses, make sure to report the incident to the State Highway Patrol. Children are our future; it is our responsibility to keep them safe. STOP – It's the Law!