Archived Story

Be ready for consequences

Published 10:05pm Monday, July 29, 2013

With the beginning of school less than a month away, those big, yellow school buses will be back on area roads, transporting children to and from school.
Those silver-and-black North Carolina Highway Patrol cruisers will be on those roads, too, in a concentrated effort to protect those buses and the students who ride them. It may be hard to comprehend, but some motorists think nothing of passing stopped school buses that are picking up or discharging riders. During a one-day count in 2012, North Carolina school bus drivers witnessed 3,196 vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses at 2,299 bus stops, according to the website schoolbusfleet.com.
The Highway Patrol is particularly observant for motorists passing stopped school buses during the first days and weeks of a new school year, but such violations happen throughout the school year.
The following laws about passing stopped school buses apply to school buses operated by public schools and private schools:
• On a two-lane road: When a school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop.
• On a two-lane road with a center turning lane: When a school bus stops for passengers all traffic from both directions must stop.
• On a four-lane road without a median separation: When a school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop.
In Washington, 15th Street east of U.S. Highway 17 is an example of a four-lane road without a median separation. When a school bus stops on that section of 15th Street, traffic from both directions must stop.
• On a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation: When a school bus stops, only traffic following the bus must stop.
• On a roadway of four lanes or more with a center turn lane: When a school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop.
Do more than know these rules of the road: apply them.
Reuben Young, a former N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety secretary, sums it up best: “A child’s life should never be put in danger just to save a minute or two during a daily commute. That’s why we’re going to make sure people know the law as well as the consequences of breaking it.”

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