RAELIGH, NC (WWAY) — This week summer break ends for thousands of North Carolina children as they head back to school.
The Highway Patrol said with more than 14,000 school buses traveling North Carolina highways daily, paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions is a must in order to keep everyone safe.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol would like to remind motorists to be patient and exercise caution on the road.
A spokesman said although drivers are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, parents should also stress to their children that they should not automatically assume that a driver will in fact stop. Children exiting the bus should always stop and look both ways before crossing the street and remain alert at all times.
“We must ensure our children’s safety as they travel to and from school,” commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Colonel Bill Grey said. “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.”
North Carolina has severe penalties for motorists who fail to comply with school bus safety rules:
- There is a $500 penalty for motorists who are caught passing a stopped school bus, and a five-point penalty on their driver license.
- A driver who passes a stopped school bus and strikes someone will face a Class I felony and be fined a minimum of $1,000.
- The penalty increases to a Class H felony and fine of $2,500 if someone is killed.