NORTH CAROLINA: School buses passed 3,153 times on a single day - FOX Carolina 21

NC school buses passed 3,153 times on a single day

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  • Statewide Stop Arm Violations

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

On a single day in North Carolina, more than 3,000 cars passed stopped school buses, violating state laws requiring drivers to yield when a bus's stop arm is extended, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Under North Carolina law, G.S. 20-217, drivers going either direction must stop when a school bus is stopped to let children off unless it is on a highway divided by a median or a four or more lane road with a center turning lane. Drivers are not supposed to continue until the bus has completed dropping the children off and begun to move again.

Data provided by DPI indicates that 3,153 vehicles passed stopped school buses on March 26. There were 13,323 school buses on North Carolina roadways on that single day.

In Cumberland County alone, 210 vehicles passed school buses, meaning 47.29 percent of the county's 444 buses were passed on March 26. In Durham, 89 vehicles passed stopped buses (34.23 percent); and 429 passed buses in Wake (46.63 percent).

In Orange County, 37 vehicles passed stopped school buses, representing 26.81 percent of the combined Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools districts' buses.

While Mecklenburg County had the highest number of recorded violations with 586, New Hanover County saw the highest percentage of violations with 66.48 percent of its fleet getting passed on March 26.

New Hanover recorded 117 stop arm violations and had 176 buses in operation.

  • Click Here for a map showing the number of stop arm violations

The issue of passing stopped school buses is one of rising concern in the state. A total of 13 children have been killed in North Carolina since 1999 by drivers who passed stopped school buses.

Drivers who are convicted of passing school bus face a $500 fine, a hefty five points on their driver's record and are not eligible for a prayer for judgment.

A driver who passes a stopped school bus and hits someone will face a Class I felony and a minimum of $1,000. The penalty rises to a Class H felony and fine of $2,500 if someone is killed.

WNCN is tweeting about the issue at #Brake4Buses and viewers can share what they see on the roads at that hashtag.

Monday night, WNCN Investigates' Jonathan Rodriguez will have a full report on the issue on the 11 p.m. newscast after the Emmys.

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