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Think of the consequences

Can you think of anything so important that it would be worth endangering a child’s life?

Granted, that’s a shocking question, and one that no one among us would ever want to contemplate. But it’s a serious question, and drivers across the state take actions that endanger children every day, perhaps without even realizing it.

At school bus stops nationwide, children are put in danger each day by motorists passing stopped school buses. This week, the N.C. Highway Patrol is working to address that issue through Operation Stop Arm, which specifically focuses on the issue. Though kids and bus drivers practice hand signals for safe crossings, that’s not always enough.

Just this week, USA Today reported that a woman in Indiana was convicted of three felony counts of reckless homicide and passing a stopped school bus causing injury. The victims in that 2018 incident were four children. Two 6-year-old twin boys and their 9-year-old sister were killed in the incident. A fourth child was severely injured and has had 20 surgeries over the course of his recovery.

The convicted woman faces up to 21 years in prison, and the family of those children will bear that pain for the rest of their lives. It’s no exaggeration. This is real life, and a tragic example of the real consequences that can come from passing a stopped school bus.

Is it worth not being five minutes late to your job or appointment? Is it worth responding to a text message or taking a selfie in the car? What could be important enough to endanger the life of a child?

The correct answer is “nothing.” So next time you find yourself behind a bus full of kids, and those lights come on and the stop arm comes out, do the right thing and stop. Take a deep breath, forget about where you need to be and wait.