North Carolina bill could stop vehicles from passing stopped school buses

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — All it takes is one split second. A bus stops, and a driver doesn’t. Passing a stopped school bus is illegal.

“My daughter started school in September and as soon as we started coming to the bus stop in the afternoon, we would notice that cars were driving by regularly and passing the bus,” Allison Coleman, a concerned mother, said.

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On Tuesday, the North Carolina senate voted on a bill to let school districts to install bus stop-arm cameras.

New Hanover Schools Transportation Department Director Ken Nance, believes some drivers aren’t paying attention .

“A lot of people still text when they’re driving down the road. They’re talking on the telephone and they’re dealing with other issues,” Nance said.

Some buses in New Hanover already have cameras.

But Nance says the new system would operate like a red light camera.

“It takes a picture of the car passing the stopped school bus and takes a picture of the license tag. Then the information would be sent to some group who in turn would bill that person anywhere between $400 for a first offense and up to $1000 for a third offense,” Nance said.

Parents hope the bill passes.

“Its probably isn’t perfect but it’s a step in the right direction to get the buses safer for kids,” Coleman said.

According to the New Hanover Schools Transportation Department, last year, approximately 98 cars would pass buses with their stop-arms out every single day and more than 12,000 children take the bus every day in New Hanover county.