The Wilmington, North Carolina (NC) Police Department is working with local school bus drivers to catch vehicle drivers not following school bus safety laws.
Six Wilmington police officers followed six school buses on their normal routes in an attempt to catch drivers who fail to stop behind the school buses’ stop sign arms when letting children on and off the bus. The New Hanover County School District picked six routes that have had previous problems with drivers not following the school bus safety laws.
During the trip police officers stopped three drivers, one of whom told police they were unaware that vehicles must stop behind a school bus when the emergency flashers and stop arm is activated. The Wilmington Police Department feels that people are simply in too much of a hurry in the mornings to follow proper school bus safety laws. Officer James D. Smith told reporters, “I think one of the main reasons people are ignoring it is because everybody has there own agenda in the morning: they're running late, trying to get to class, trying to get to work, talking on the cell phones -- cell phones are a big distraction.”
However, there is no excuse when it comes to the law and driver’s caught violating the rule have to appear in court and the citation comes with five point’s on their driver’s license. Ignoring a school bus stop could cost far more then a citation. My colleague, Richard Shapiro, recently wrote an article about a young girl that was fatally struck by a passing SUV while attempting to exit a school bus in Raleigh, North Carolina (NC). The driver of the SUV did not stop behind the school bus and struck the child while she was crossing the street at her stop.
Violating the law is far too common in North Carolina. Richard Shapiro wrote a follow up article after local reporters did some investigating in to driver’s habits around school buses. They talked to several bus drivers who told them that near misses happen often with children and drivers. Every driver should be more cautious around school buses, especially when they are stopped. By paying more attention to the roadways and following the school bus laws these type of accidents can be avoided.