Annual North Carolina school bus safety action begins

Children with a school bus (Photo: woodleywonderworks / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

NORTH CAROLINA (AP) — State troopers will emphasize safety around school zones and buses this week during North Carolina’s annual “Operation Stop Arm” enforcement effort.

The Highway Patrol along with Department of Public Instruction and Wake County school representatives will participate in a Monday news conference at the North Carolina State Fair to talk about the initiative.

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Troopers plan to aggressively enforce stop-arm and other school-related traffic violations this week. In previous years, troopers have ridden on buses and in unmarked patrol cars.

North Carolina bus drivers involved in annual one-day counting exercises routinely record more than 3,000 vehicles breaking stop-arm rules.

A 2017 law gave counties the right to impose civil penalties on motorists caught on school bus cameras passing buses that are picking up or dropping off children.

“The safety of our children is a constant priority for members of the State Highway Patrol, not just a topic to discuss at the beginning of each school year,” said Colonel Glenn McNeill, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.  “We gather today to make sure their safety is of paramount each and every day and to remind all road users that passing a stopped school bus will not be tolerated.” 

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person will receive five driving points on their driver’s license and is subject to fines up to $500.  Passing a stopped school bus is a Class I felony if the driver strikes an individual and a Class H felony should the violation result in a death.