The North Carolina Highway Patrol has a form for people who see a motorist pass a stopped school bus. The form can be turned in to any school administrator or to the transportation department for a school system. Those administrators will make sure the form goes to the proper authorities.
Under North Carolina law, G.S. 20-217, drivers going either direction must stop when a school bus is stopped to let children off. Drivers are not supposed to continue until the bus has completed dropping the children off and begun to move again.
Drivers can pass a stopped school bus if they are going in the opposite direction on a road with at least four lanes and a median between the lanes. That way, there is a median between them and the school bus.
A conviction for passing a stopped school bus is a hefty five points on a citizen’s record — a steep penalty. Reckless driving is four points, for example, and driving on the wrong side of the road is four. Running through a stop sign is three points and speeding in a school zone is three points.
Drivers who are convicted face a $500 fine 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.
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