In an attempt to ensure school bus safety, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is taking proactive steps by launching their annual week-long statewide Operation Stop Arm beginning today, October 15, 2018. State Troopers will be aggressively enforcing stop arm violations and other traffic violations in and around school zones statewide through the end of school Friday, October 19, 2012.
Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol said: “Every child should be afforded a safe means of travel as they attend their respective educational institution”, and that “While this operation is scheduled to conclude on Friday, our efforts will continue throughout the school year.”
As a reminder, we have listed what you are and are not allowed to do with respect to a stopped school bus:
- Two-lane road – Everyone must stop
- Four-lane road with no separation – Everyone must stop
- Four-lane or more with a median or some physical barrier – Only traffic following the bus must stop
- Center turn lane with less than four lanes – Everyone must stop
- Center turn lane with at least four other lanes – Only traffic following the bus must stop
Pursuant to North Carolina State Law (N.C.G.S. §20-217), a driver must stop when a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle that approaches the school bus from any direction on the same street, highway, or public vehicular area shall bring that other 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shall not proceed to move, pass, or attempt to pass the school bus until after the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has started to move.
Consequences for motorists who fail to comply with school bus safety rules:
- Minimum fine of $500 and a Class 1 misdemeanor if you pass a stopped school bus
- Minimum fine of $1,250 and a Class I felony if you pass a stopped school bus and strike someone
- Minimum fine of $2,500 and a Class H felony if someone is killed
While drivers are required by law to stop when a school bus is loading or unloading passengers, it is also very important for parents to talk to their children and instruct them to stop and look both ways when getting on or off of the school bus, just in case a driver does not stop for the stopped bus for any reason.
If you or somebody you know receives a citation for not complying with school bus safety rules or face any other kind of traffic or criminal charges in our area, Collins Law Firm can help. We have handled thousands of traffic tickets for our clients, and we offer free phone consultations for most traffic or criminal matters. Please call us for a confidential consultation at: 910-793-9000.
By Jana Collins, Office Manager