Two North Carolina lawmakers have introduced the North Carolina School Bus Safety Act which would impose stiff, mandatory fines for all drivers who pass stopped school buses and would revoke the licenses of repeat offenders and drivers who strike a pedestrian while passing a stopped bus. The lawmakers, both from Forsythe County, are proposing the bill after too many recent incidents of children being hit by vehicles while crossing the street to get on or exiting the school bus.
If the bill becomes law, then drivers convicted of a felony will have their licenses revoked - two years of revocation for Class I and three years for Class H. Repeat felony offenders could lose their licenses permanently. Multiple misdemeanors also could lead to revocation for a year or more.
Fines would range from $500 for a misdemeanor, passing a stopped bus, to $2,500 for a Class I felony, striking someone while passing a bus, and up to $5,000 for a Class H felony, hitting and killing someone while passing a stopped bus.
Camera installed on outside of school bus.
The North Carolina Injury Lawyer Perspective:
Our North Carolina personal injury firm has reported on many of the incidents of children being hit at school bus stops that have occurred this school year. In one incident, an 11 year-old sixth grader, was killed after being struck. The child had missed the bus, which turned around to come back to pick the boy up. As the victim crossed the street to get to the bus, he was hit by an SUV. He died on the way to the hospital.
In another incident, a five year old girl suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries after being hit by a car after she got off the school bus and crossed the street in front of the bus. The impact from the car threw the victim into the shoulder of the roadway.
Last fall, the North Carolina Highway Patrol implemented Operation Strong Arm, videotaping drivers who choose to ignore the stop arm, stop sign and red flashing lights of a school bus as it stops, after a seven year girl and a twelve year old boy were both killed at separate school bus stop incidents.
Stop arms and stop signs on school buses, red and yellow traffic light warnings and crosswalks are warnings that pedestrians rely on drivers to obey. The experienced personal injury attorneys at our law firm have successfully represented clients who were seriously injured by vehicles whose drivers fail to pay attention to the rules of the road. In one case, two victims, who our firm represented, were both struck by a driver as they were crossing in a crosswalk. The victims were awarded a total of $545,000. In another case, we were able to secure $227,000 award for a victim who was crossing at a crosswalk with his family when he was struck by a driver who didn’t see him.