WNCN reports that, since 1999, 13 North Carolina children have died in the simple act of trying to get to and from school. These children were walking to and from their school bus when drivers illegally passed their buses, hitting and killing the young students.
It is a problem that has, unfortunately, grown into an epidemic in North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, each day 3,000 cars illegally pass a stopped bus. On March 26, 2014, alone, NCDPI tracked 3,153 instances in which a car passed a stopped bus. With more than 800,000 students relying on this form on transportation to get to and from school, the risk of one of them getting hit by a bus is extremely real.
Under North Carolina law, it is illegal for drivers to pass a stopped school vehicle. Motorists traveling in either direction must stop and wait for buses that are picking up and dropping off children. They are alerted to this by flashing lights equipped on every school bus that indicates that the bus is about to stop or has stopped to pickup or drop off children. Drivers may not proceed until the bus has turned off these lights and begun to move.
These stops can sometimes last several minutes when there are multiple children to let off and many drivers grow impatient waiting. When they try to pass these buses, even at a slow rate of speed, they risk striking children who may be crossing in front of the bus to cross the street. Many of these children are young and not road savvy. They may not be vigilant about other cars and that is why North Carolina has such strict laws to protect their safety.
When a vehicle illegally passes a school bus and hits someone, the driver faces a Class 1 felony and a minimum fine of $1,000. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, consult a skilled North Carolina personal injury lawyer with the Lanier Law Group.
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